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Joy
Posted By Nan

John 17

This passage in John covers the same events as in the previous blog. But this is now Jesus’ prayer to God. Jesus spoke about God giving those who were His to Jesus. He spoke so that the disciples would know. He wanted them to understand the greatness of God. That they were His precious children. He wanted that to fill them with Joy.

Jesus spoke God’s word to the world and the world hated Him for it. The disciples, as ones who heard and accepted what Jesus spoke, are also hated by the world. Jesus is not of this world. Nor are we who hear and accept His word.

Jesus asked God to keep all who believed in Him safe. He asked for them to be sanctified by the truth of God’s words spoken by Jesus. 

Jesus sent His disciples out into the world, and He continues to send us out into the world.

He sanctified himself so that we could be sanctified.

That is cause for Joy.

So we have Joy because of what God instructed Jesus to speak to us. We have Joy because we belong to God and He gave us to Jesus.

We also have Joy because Jesus sanctified himself so that we could be sanctified. We don’t have to do anything. That gift has already been given.

May we be fully aware of God’s great gift to us and experience the Joy of that gift.

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

John 16: 16-24

As the time for Jesus to die for us approached, He instructed the disciples on what was about to happen. 

He told them that in a little while He would be gone for a short time. They would deeply grieve and be confused. Around them, those who did not believe in Him would celebrate.

Then after a short time, Jesus would return and their Joy would be so great no one could take it from them. 

There is much for us to learn from this passage.

First we learn that Joy is in Jesus and His presence.

Second we learn that we may go through times of great suffering that does not let us. We may despair of ever being free of that. But we will. Jesus likens it to a woman giving birth. During labour she experiences pain. Then her baby is born and she forgets the pain in the joy of holding her child. 

We go through hard times when it seems we are isolated and forgotten. When we feel that God has turned His back on us. But then the hard times end and we rejoice in our salvation and in the presence of God once again.

Joy comes and goes. In this life, we do not exist in perfect Joy. In eternity we will exist in perfect Joy, but for now we live in moments of joy and moments of hardship.

Jesus knows this is how it is. His reassurance to the disciples was to help them through the time between His death and resurrection. That reassurance is also for us. That no matter how bleak things appear to be we will again experience Joy.

May that knowledge encourage you.

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

John 15: 1-17

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” v11 NIV

In my exploration of Joy in the Bible, I have never come across Joy couched in these terms. 

This is joy that is in us. It is the joy Jesus feels and He has placed that joy in us. As he said in v11 He was telling the disciples things God had told Him to bring them His joy and give them joy that is complete and mature.

As we grow in our knowledge of Jesus, the Joy we experience matures. 

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.” v4 The Message

Joy is a fruit of the spirit. In this passage, Jesus instructs us to live in Him. To make our home in Him just as He does in us. He likens it to a branch on a grape vine that cannot flower and produce grapes unless it is connected the vine. 

So it is our connection to Jesus, allowing Him to dwell in us as we dwell in Him that produces the fruit of Joy. 

That Joy is not only given to us but is the actual Joy Jesus feels.

“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil.” v16a The Message

In verse 16a Jesus reminds us that He put us in the world to bear eternal fruit that will never spoil. 

It is important we never forget that.

Jesus chose us. We may have accepted that choice, but we were offered the choice by Jesus who had already chosen us.

Jesus put us here to bear fruit which includes Joy.

True Joy is what Jesus experiences when He teaches us the things God has taught Him. 

It is the Joy of love. It is Joy for us. It is a gift of great love and delight in us.

Hallelujah

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

John 3

This chapter of John contains two parts. 

The first part is about Nicodemus, a pharisee, who has seen and believed Jesus. He struggles with the idea of being born again and learns from Jesus that God allows people to see and hear Him. Nicodemus has believed in Jesus because that is what God has allowed Nicodemus to know. Jesus tells him that people do not believe because they prefer the darkness where they can hide their evil deeds.

The second part of this chapter is about John the Baptist being told by his disciples that Jesus is baptising people who are coming to him instead of coming to John. John points out that Jesus is greater and it is right that John diminishes as Jesus becomes greater. John is the best man to the bridegroom. His delight is that Jesus has come after John had prepared the way for Him. Now John can step back. That is his source of Joy. 

John did not come to the world to make himself great. He feels great Joy at the fact that he has prepared the people’s hearts for Jesus. Now that has happened, he can sit back and see the people flocking to Jesus. 

John’s joy is in the advancing of God’s Kingdom.

If we look at what Jesus said to Nicodemus, the people were shown the light but chose the darkness because they were afraid of their evil deeds being exposed by the light. They chose to stumble in darkness rather than step into the light.

They chose a life of misery, a life away from God.

They chose to forgo Joy.

Some chose outright rebellion against God. Others, like the pharisees, chose legalism to keep them from God. The end result was to cut themselves off from God’s Joy.

What choice do you make?

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Luke 24:36-52

This chapter of Luke recounts the visit of the women - mentioned two blogs ago - to the tomb of Jesus. If you remember, these women were wealthy and influential women who accompanied Jesus and financed His ministry. 

Luke recounts how the men did not believe the women when they said Jesus had risen. 

Yet in this passage we see the men on the road to Emmaus discovering after many hours that the man they were walking with was Jesus. 

Even when Jesus appeared in their midst the disciples were frightened, thinking He was a ghost.

Although the women were at first disbelieving, they quickly saw the truth of what the angels were telling them. They believed.

Such was the place of women in the society of Jesus’ day, that they were not believed. It took the men seeing Jesus for them to believe them.

We need to be careful in our modern society to not discount women when they speak of their experiences with Jesus. I have experienced myself, being marginalised in more than one church while on the preaching roster. I found the men of the church did not want to hear a sermon given by a woman. Even the older women did not want to hear a sermon given by a woman, especially one younger than them. Yet the messages I had to give were given by God.

Such marginalisation of women robs us of our Joy because it delays or prevents us receiving God’s messages. 

The men eventually believed Jesus was risen because of Jesus’ coming to them. They would not believe the testimony of the women.

In these verses there is much Joy experienced by the men when they realise Jesus had risen. That Joy came from experiencing the majesty of God. 

We will not always receive such a powerful sign.

Yes, we must be discerning, but it is important not to discriminate against the messenger. It is Jesus’ decision who He sends messages to. We don’t get to dictate that. 

The messenger may be male or female. They may have skin any colour God has created. They may be young. They may be someone we look down on morally. They may be someone poor. They may be a foreigner.

The truth is, Jesus chooses the messenger. Our duty is to believe the message and seek God’s clarification of the message and what He wants us to do.

The men on that day missed many hours of Joy because they did not believe the women. Yet the message they were being sent was a source of great Joy. We need to guard against missing out on Joy because we discriminate against the messenger and forget to seek God.

 


 
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Nan
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