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Joy Like Jesus

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What is that gives you joy? What is it that gets you ‘up’, feeling happy, great, on top of the world? Often, we are tempted to ignore those things of permanence that can be a perpetual source of joy in an attempt to find a ‘quick fix’ happiness in temporary things. 

I’ll never forget Christmas when I was seven years old. My parents liked to leave a few gifts unwrapped because they enjoyed the momentary sensation of watching my sister and I walk into a room to be awed by whatever Christmas surprise waited for us. And as I entered our living room that year, my eye was captured by whatever they had set out. I moved towards the visible gifts, and in doing so, walked right past the main thing: a little boxer puppy. 

Yes, that was the year my parents gave me a dog for Christmas. And yes – dogs are not just for Christmas – that little puppy became my best friend ever.  But the point is that – like me – we often derive joy from things that are temporary. I don’t remember anything else I got for Christmas that year. As we look at Luke 10:21-24, we learn what gives Jesus joy, and through him, to root our joy in things of permanence.

  1. The Joy of Jesus

This is what we read in Luke 10:21:

In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 

Remember, this prayer and praise moment Jesus has immediately follows his conversation with the disciples in which he told them not to rejoice that the demons are subject to him, but to rejoice that their names are written in heave.

First, note that God is sovereign in salvation, revealing himself to those who don’t deserve it. Second, notice that Jesus is intimately related to God, calling him Father. But what really got Jesus excited is God’s gracious will – keeping things hidden from those who think they deserve salvation, revealing them to ‘little children’, those who acknowledge their need. The disciples have a privileged place in that they have been given this revelation – by grace.

In short: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). God’s pleasure reaches down to those who seem to have nothing to offer but their need, yet he gives them everything in terms of spiritual blessing.

Jesus gives us an example of praising God for his grace in salvation. Likewise, we should give God thanks and praise for the position we have. 

  1. The Authority of Jesus

Look at Luke 10:22:

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

There is an important description of Jesus’ authority here: God the Father has given Jesus all authority. Within the Trinity there is a relationship of hierarchy – equality with distinction of function. This is consistent with what we read in John 5:19:

Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

Now, the authority of Jesus in general has many applications; He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords; in Philippians 2:9, Paul writes that he has been given ‘the name above every name’. Jesus’ rule is presented as absolute and as the product of the Father’s bestowal.

Jesus’ authority especially comes to the fore in the context of mission, the big theme in this part of Luke. He has just sent out the 12, and then the 72, on mission, and is on his way to Jerusalem for his big mission to die for people’s sins.

In Matthew 28, Jesus again sends his followers on mission, saying, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations. But that statement begins with ‘therefore …’, and any time wesee a ‘therefore’ in the Bible, you have to find out what it is there for. SO, in the verse right before Jesus says ‘GO’, he says, ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me’ (Matthew 28:18).

This is consistent with the statement in Luke ‘all things have been handed over to me by my Father’. And particularly in the area of mission, and the salvation which is the aim of that mission, Jesus has authority.  And in Luke 10:22, Jesus makes two key points about his authority.

  • First, only the Son truly knows the Father, and only the Father truly knows the Son.
  • Second, No one can know God the Father unless the Son grants them revelation of God.

You might disagree: but think about – do you know anyone who knows God but has not been given a revelation of him? Our salvation is dependent on God opening our eyes – we’re not smart enough to figure this out on our own. 

  1. The Revelation of Jesus 

Finally, we come to Luke 10:23-24:

Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

They are blessed and experience God’s favour because of what they see. They are eyewitnesses to great events.

Many past greats, both prophets and kings, longed to experience the Jesus event. However great the former era was, it pales in comparison with the present. It is blessed to live in the days of fulfilment. This is what the Old Testament prophesied and looked forward to.

SO WHAT? Here’s the main point:

It’s only ever always about Jesus.

God has graciously revealed to us by his Spirit and through his Word the glory, the power, the majesty, the riches of Christ – who He is, what he has done. But often, although we know Jesus should be in the room of our lives, we are often content with just that – he’s in the room, but he’s not the main event.

Don't walk past Jesus.  

That’s what happened to me at Christmas when I was seven. My dog was in the room, but I began by ignoring him – not prioritising him.

Don’t be like me at Christmas – don’t walk past the main thing. God by His Spirit has opened your eyes to the riches of Christ – love him, esteem him, prioritise him, enjoy him every day.