September 16, 2018
READ: John 15:9-17
I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy (v.11).
One of my favourite moments of the year is on Christmas Eve when, at the conclusion of our church’s candlelight service, we erupt with the powerful song “Joy to the World”. Because our church practises Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas) as a season of preparing our hearts to celebrate Jesus’ birth, we wait to unleash this song until that holy moment—then our voices raise the rafters. The song is the perfect conclusion to Advent, since joy is at the heart of everything Jesus does for us.
As Jesus spoke final words to His disciples, He returned to themes He had taught them from their earliest days together. He wanted His friends to know the depths of His love for them, a love matched only by His own experience of the Father’s affection (15:9). Christ also told His followers how vital it is to obey God’s commands and to order our lives under His good authority. “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love,” Jesus said, “just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love” (v.10).
Further, Jesus reminded them that they were “no longer . . . slaves . . . [but] friends” (v.15). None of this was new information, but reminders of everything they’d shared as friends.
And why had Jesus so diligently taught and reminded them of all these truths? “So that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (v.11).
It can be difficult, in times of heartbreak and uncertainty, to cling to the truth that God is committed to our joy—and that God’s truth always leads us to joy. Can we trust this? We can in His strength. Every day of our lives God has been working on our behalf towards one massive conspiracy of joy!
365-day plan: John 15:1-16
Read 1 Peter 1:8-9. What “inexpressible” gift does God fill us with as we trust in Him? How do trust and faith fit into this picture?
How does it change your perspective of God to think of Him as one who deeply desires and works for your joy? How does this stir you?