And now come I to you; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
I. THE STRANGE THING NAMED "MY JOY." It is about the most unlikely thing in connection with the career and testimony of the Saviour. It would excite no one's surprise to hear Him say, "If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross;" "In the world ye shall have tribulation." But when He speaks of His joy, is it not strange? What, then, is His joy?
1. It is the ripening harvest of suffering — suffering grown into joy, fully realized by Him in the completeness of His work. How true the prophetic description of Him — A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief!" Wherever He turned His face men saw the sign. One ceaseless grief He bad — loneliness of soul. Spotless purity in the midst of foul pollution, transparent truth in the midst of elaborate falsehood, earnest spirituality in the midst of consummate hypocrisy, self-sacrificing goodness in the midst of grasping selfishness. Go into His own family: they are hostile and scornful. Mix with His disciples: they are dull, grovelling, strifeful-By the grave of a friend He groans and weeps. But the soul of the Redeemer's sufferings was the sufferings of His soul. In Gethsemane — what is this? On Calvary — oh, what is this? His heart breaks, and on this account, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" "He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied." The harvest of ripened suffering — suffering turned into joy. Only He knew that in all its fulness.
2. It sprang from ministering to the sad and comfortless. He spent His life with the sufferers. His loving care lavished all its resources upon them. He was the Christ, anointed to comfort all that mourn. And such gathered to Him without hesitation. "He bare their griefs and carried their sorrows." He alone could; the rest would sink under the burden. He alone would; all the rest would have gone away in despair. But He did, and in a weeping world He had a word of mighty power. That word was "Weep not." So He speaks to the widow, to Jairus, and to the woman that was a sinner. And so He found solace in making the unhappy happy — a grand position, divinely high.
3. It consisted in sympathy with the heavenly Father's will, and sprang from doing that will.
4. It was the joy of doing the highest possible good — saving men's souls.
II. OUR LORD'S DESIRE IS RELATION TO THIS.
1. That His joy in His disciples might be perfect in kind; that is, that it should spring from the same sources and have the same attributes in the seme proportion, as in His life and heart.
2. That it might be abundant in degree. I invite you all who have faith in Jesus, and a good hope in Him through grace, to cherish the fulness of the Saviour's joy.
(1) There is good ground for it. The Saviour and the saved will rejoice together. The saved man was guilty, but he is forgiven, and against him there is no condemnation.
(2) There is no danger in it. It will awaken no bad passion, it will create neither envy nor strife. The more the heart is filled with it the more the affections will be sanctified.
(3) There is no alloy in it. Not like the joy of the world, it will never be dashed with bitterness, or overshadowed by dread, or startled by horror, or stung by remorse.
(4) It will not die and disappoint you. It will live on and grow, not like the lamp of the wicked that goes out, but like the path of the just, shining more and more to the perfect day.
(5) It will bless your whole nature. The understanding will say, "It is wise." The conscience will say, "It is right." The heart will say, "It is good." Long as you live your confidence will grow; and when death looks you in the face your confidence will not be shaken, but it will be dearer when everything else is dying, and brighter when everything else is darker.
Parallel VersesKJV: And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.