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Complete Joy

Today I started studying John 14-17. The eventual goal of this is to produce a set of 8 small group notes for students to use. That is a long way off yet.

One of the first things that struck me, Christian hedonist antenna up of course, was what Jesus says about joy as he speaks to his disciples and prays for them. He's speaking about his departure, via the cross to his Father, which will be followed by the sending of the Holy Spirit to his people. Whilst this will be cause to grieve it will ultimately be a source of great joy.

  • 15v11 - "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete"
    - this being to remain in Jesus by obeying his commands. Being in Jesus brings joy.
  • 16v20 - "I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy." - Jesus' death will be a cause for disciples to grieve while the world celebrates it's apparent victory over Jesus. But grief will turn to joy in time.
  • 16v24 - "Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." - Jesus will give them the Holy Spirit - he will give them the source of joy in their lives as they believe in Jesus and so gain eternal life.
  • 17v13 - "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. "- a third time complete joy is promised to Jesus' disciples as they live in him. He reveals the future to them as he prays. He tells them of what is to come and so safeguards and secures their future joy.
All of that joy is entirely tied up with what the cross of Jesus accomplishes, with the union with Christ that results for his disciples as they/we remain in Jesus enjoying fellowship with the Trinity.

There are a few other references to joy in John's gospel. The first is by John the Baptist in 3v29. He speaks of his complete joy because the bridegroom has arrived to take his bride. John has done his work and now steps aside so that the groom can be revealed to all. Another in 4v36 speaks of the shared gladness of the one who sows and the one who reaps to eternal life. The joy of Jesus gathering people to share in his eternal joy. And one further reference to joy comes with Abraham in 8v59 who saw Jesus tells us saw him coming from a distance and rejoiced. Such bold statements enrage the authorities who will rejoice over Jesus' deal presuming to have triumphed over him. Their celebrations will be short lived. They will have hated Jesus without cause when they could have considered his works and so believed and gained eternal life with him.

Time and again, joy is the mark of Christian life in the New Testament. Why should that not be so! What good news we find in Jesus. What new life we find living in the Spirit. Jesus sought the joy of his people. Paul laboured for the faith and joy of those he served with the gospel. Rejoice!

A little history on Christian Hedonism...
Christian Hedonism aka Protestant Reformation


  1. Dave, have you heard Tim Keller on John 2 ("Lord of the Wine")? It's all this stuff. Beautiful and mindblowing! It's free for download at the Redeemer website.



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