Have you ever struggled to feel joy?
In John 14-17, Jesus is at the brink of death. He knows the pain he’s about to endure. He knows the tragedy the disciples are about to witness. He knows they’re all about to fail big time by abandoning and denying him. He knows he’s only got this little window of time with them before it all hits the fan, and what’s he talking about? Joy. In these last hours with his disciples before he is crucified, Jesus uses the word “joy” seven times.
A couple of things are standing out to me about the way Jesus talks about this joy:
• It comes from being connected with Jesus. “Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love... I’ve told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Jesus knows that true joy only comes by remaining in his love.
• It comes through sorrow. Jesus compares the moment a mom holds her newborn baby after moving through the pain of giving birth. Sometimes life feels really hard, painful and not very joyful. But often, Jesus takes us through the sorrow to get to the joy. Death comes before resurrection. He’s trustworthy and faithful even in the painful seasons and he promises they will come to an end.
• It’s complete joy - full, whole, abounding, amply supplied, increasing. It doesn’t fail to deliver or leave you wanting. It’s the real deal. It’s satisfying. (Also, how amazing that Jesus is concerned with making sure you have full joy - It’s important to him!)
• This is Jesus’s own joy that he puts in you. He says “so that my joy may be in you” and later “so they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” It’s not on me to muster up my own joy. He’s going to provide and supply me with his joy.
God is glorious - no one can bring bigger joy than him. He’s gracious - he gives joy that we couldn’t ever provide for ourselves - even when he knows we’re about to completely fail. He’s great - he can bring joy even through the hardest moments. And he’s so good - no joys could ever compare with the fullness of his satisfying and complete joy.