Friday, June 3, 2011

No One Will Take your Joy from You



“No one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22)

This promise from our Savior, Jesus Christ, ought to produce great comfort and gladness to our souls. God has promised that “no one will take your joy from you” and God is always good on his promises. That means the joy we have, as his children, goes beyond any circumstance this world can throw our way. This is a joy with the solid Rock as its foundation.

The disciples had no clue what Jesus was talking about at this point in his ministry. Jesus is talking about seeing them no longer and then in a little while longer he would see them again. They were asking each other what Jesus meant by not seeing him for a little while. Jesus proceeds to answer their question by speaking about his impending death using the illustration of a pregnant woman. “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world” (16:21). The delivery of a baby is done with much anguish and pain but to watch a mother with her baby for the first time is a good reminder that the pain is worth it all. The pain is quickly gone because of the great joy of a new life. Jesus is communicating to his disciples about the sorrow they will feel in just a little while when he is sentenced to death on a cross.

In preparing them for his death we can see the tender compassion Jesus has for his disciples. He wants them to be prepared for what is about to take place yet he knows they will not fully understand. Jesus had always been preparing them throughout his entire earthly ministry but crucifixion is not what they had in mind. At this point they still really have no idea what is going to happen to Jesus. His death and resurrection are the only reason Jesus can promise the great joy for his disciples. Without the cross and the empty tomb there is no true, sustaining joy. Jesus understood this reality because it was all part of the Father’s plan for redemption. His death will produce their sorrow but three days later, when he walks out the grave, Jesus assures them: “No one will take your joy from you.” They will see clearly Jesus is exactly who claims to be. The sorrow of Calvary will be forgotten because the understanding of the Gospel will be a joyful reality. This reality of Christ crucified penetrates the heart and soul so deep that the joy it produces cannot be taken away. The reason? Our hope is fixed on our victorious Savior who will make all things new in the new heavens and the new earth. We have an unfailing promise to cling onto.

Christian, are you lacking joy? If you are I hope you will constantly fix your gaze upon Jesus Christ. If you are suffering remember the sufferings of Christ and the comfort he gives. If things are going well in life remember the goodness and kindness of God. If life seems confusing remember that God is sovereign over all of life. Always remember the promises of God no matter the circumstance and praise him through it all. You can rejoice because of Christ. The victory is won and “no one will take your joy away from you.”

If you know nothing of this joy found in Christ I would encourage you to humble yourself before God and beg him for mercy. Sin is separating you from joyful fellowship with your Creator. Repent and trust in Jesus Christ. He accomplished eternal joy through his death and resurrection. "In his presence is fullness of joy; at his right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11). It is impossible to have eternal joy taken away.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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