INTRODUCTION The joy of Jesus was one of the things that attracted people to Him. The religious systems of the day were not characterized by joy. While they were marked by sincerity and discipline, they had not brought joy to the heart of men. Jesus came living a life of joy, and giving it to others.
After Jesus had talked with the disciples about their joy, Luke reports that Jesus Himself gave expression to great joy. "In that hour Jesus re¬joiced in spirit." The word "rejoiced" is not the usual word for joy in the Greek language but a word that refers to a great joy, an intense joy. It is most commonly used in the context of the pure spiritual, worshipful joy that one knows in the Lord. It is of special interest that Jesus expresses this joy in a prayer of praise to the Father, a joy that the world about us does not know.
This joy of the Son is of special interest to us because of the insight it gives us into the self understanding of our Lord and because of what it teaches us about such joy. We can know this kind of joy in the same way the Son knew it.
I. THE JOY OF THE S0N IS THROUGH THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT. The King James Version translates the word "spirit" with an indication that it was the "spirit" of Jesus that caused the rejoicing. However, the newer translations reflect the better manuscripts and translate it "Holy Spirit". Luke is always giving emphasis to the role the Holy Spirit played in the life of Jesus. This outburst of joyful praise was prompted by the Holy Spirit. This is helpful to us because we too are a people of the Spirit, and we can know this joy in the same way.
A. The Holy Spirit imparts joy by illumining to the mind and heart the things of God. This was such a moment in the life of Jesus. In this moment the Holy Spirit flooded His heart with understanding of the things of God, as is reflected in the prayer, and He responded with joy. There is no joy known to man just like this joy given by the Spirit.
B. The Holy Spirit imparts joy by revelation of the Lord God. It was a moment in which the heart of Jesus was in full communion with the Father. Such communion with the Father is a work of the Holy Spirit as was in the life of Jesus. As the Man Jesus knew this work of the Spirit. For this work in His life is the source of the Joy of the Son through the Holy Spirit.
It is noteworthy that "joy" is the second of the fruits of the Spirit listed by Paul. The Christian does not look to the world for joy, nor does he depend upon circumstances. He has the source of all true joy abiding in his heart in every circumstance. Our Lord demonstrates that the Holy Spirit can indeed impart great joy in the midst of life's disappointments.
II. THE JOY OF THE SON IS IN THE PURPOSE OF THE FATHER. We have all three members of the triune Godhead involved in this joy. The Spirit is the source of the joy, but the rather is the object of the joy and the Son is the subject of the joy. The joy that the Spirit imparts turns the Son toward the Father in glad praise.
The Father is addressed, "0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth." Jesus knew God as Father. He knew Him as the One with which He enjoyed this most blessed and intimate of relationships that of Son and Father. He addresses Him as "Father" and as "Lord of heaven and earth." This indicates that He is One to be submitted to gladly. He is the One with all the rights of ownership and lordship over man. Jesus approaches Him in such a recognition in His praise. So should we. However, the focus of the Son is on the purpose of the Father.
A. The purpose of the Fatter reverses the ways of the world. "I thank thee...that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast re¬vealed unto babes." The "wise and prudent" were the trained theologians of the day, the scribes, the lawyers, those schooled to understand the things of God. Their biggest problem was the thought they already knew the things of God. They had their minds closed to any new light from the Lord. So God chose to "hide" the things of the kingdom from them. He passed them by in imparting the knowledge of the things of God. Rather He chose to reveal the things of the kingdom to "babes". These would be the simple ones who readily acknowledge their ignorance of the things of God, They were teachable, so God chose to reveal the things of the kingdom to them in a saving way. The twelve apostles would surely fit into the category of the "babes" as would the seventy who had just returned from their mission.
Jesus delighted in this aspect of the divine purpose. He was delighted with the way the Fatter ignored the standards and ideas of the world in doing His work. If we are to know the joy of the Son, we too must learn to so delight in the purpose of the Father.
B. The purpose of the Father is also Sovereign. "Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in your sight." This explains why the Father did the thing He did because it pleased Him. "Seemed good" translates the word that means “good pleasure”. This is the word the Apostle Paul uses in the Ephesian letter when he sets forth God's saving purpose. God saves the people He saves, and does the things He does because it is His good pleasure. He is sovereign in His purpose.
He does not have to consult with any man nor with the angels. He does what pleases Himself, and being the kind of person He is, this means that it was always right and be the best for everyone concerned. Jesus delighted in the sovereign purpose of the Fatter.
This was the thing that set the heart of the Son to praising the Fatter. It was such a joy to Him to know that the Fatter was doing His own good pleasure. He was acting in accordance with His own good pleasure. Have you learned to rejoice in the purpose of the Fatter? Have you learned to delight in the way He is running His world and doing His work? The lack of joy on the part of some can be traced to their trying to second¬ guess God. They have serious questions about what God is doing. Joy comes when you are ready to let God be God! Let Him do what pleases Him, and make sure that it pleases you!
III. THE JOY OF THE SON IN THE POSITION OF THE SON. The other great awareness that the Spirit imparted to Jesus was an awareness of His own position a basis of joy before the Father.
A. His position is that of authority in the kingdom. "All things are delivered to me of my Father." "All things" probably refers to "all things of the mysteries of the kingdom.” The Father has entrusted to Him all things of wisdom and power. He occupies this special position because it is the will of His Father. This reveals a remarkable understanding of His own calling on the part of the Son.
B. His position is that of a special relationship with the Father. "No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is but the Son.” "Knoweth" is the word for personal and experimental knowledge. It is the word that refers to the knowledge’s based on a relationship. Jesus is claiming a unique relationship with the Father. Only the Father knows personally and fully who the Son is. Only the Son knows fully and personally who the Father is. He alone enjoys this unique relationship with the eternal Father. Those who question whether Jesus ever made claims to be anything more than a man need to reflect upon this prayer addressed to the Father. This relationship with the Father was a part of the joy that filled His heart.
C. His position in that of being the means of revelation of the Father. "And he to whom the Son will reveal him." Jesus affirms in this prayer that the only people who will come to know the Father are those to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. This claims that Jesus is the only source of personal, full knowledge of the Father. It also claims that this knowledge comes to me at the initiative of the Son. Men do not come to this knowledge by the will of the man. Jesus delighted in His position before the Father and in the world.
There is a lesson for us here. The more we allow the Holy Spirit to acquaint us with our true position before the Lord, the greater joy we will know. Many of us are short of joy because we are short on understanding our position as sons of God. The Joy of the Son is rooted in His delight in His position before the Father. He knew who He was and was glad about it.
CONCLUSION What a Savior! Does not such a view of the Son and His joy in the Father flood your heart with joy? There is a Joy that is unspeakable and full of great glory that fills the hearts of those who love and serve Him.
Such joy can be only a dream for those who do not know the Son. You do not even have the capacity for such joy for you do not have the Holy Spirit living in your Heart. One must have the Holy Spirit, know the Father, and trust in the Son if He is to know this Joy.
May God grant unto you a joy like He gave the Son!