You may recall that last time in my blog post here in early February we were thinking about how there is very little said about the Lord Jesus in relation to joy in the scriptures. This is for good reason as it was prophesied that he would be characterised by sorrow and grief whilst down here, and not by joy. Let me balance my comments however by making it clear that I don't believe the Lord appeared to be down-hearted or unhappy, no that's not what I am saying. I am simply looking at what the scriptures tell us prophetically regarding his character and drawing some thoughts from this. Let's be clear that his character was of course wonderfully and perfectly balanced and even, of course we believe that. However his earthly service down here was not for pleasure or enjoyment or marked by levity, the scriptures tell us so! We can think of how he brought so much joy to others though, at all stages of his life, and we do praise God afresh that he was wiling to be the "man of sorrows" and "bear our griefs and carry our sorrows" so that our "joy might be full"!
However, I have been thinking recently that there are three things I believe spoken of in the scriptures that bring joy to the heart of the Lord Jesus, and I share them here for our mutual encouragement and to warm our hearts towards the Saviour.
When a sinner repents (Luke 15:7-10)
"there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth"
How wonderful to think that when we repented of our sin and trusted Christ as our Saviour there was joy in the very presence of God and his angels in heaven! Something that undoubtedly also brought joy to the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ!
A life of faithful and fruitful service (Matthew 25:21-23)
"thou hast been faithful over a few things... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"
Again, we marvel that ever our contribution and service down here should ever bring joy to the Lord! But this is the truth of it, there is joy for Him at the end of a life of faithful and loyal service and surely this should encourage us in our lives for Him, no matter how meagre or paltry our service may seem to us, it brings pleasure, glory and joy to the heart of God!
My third and final example comes from Hebrews 12:2
"Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame." (NLT)
I have quoted the New Living Translation here as it seems to more accurately convey the meaning here but the Amplified also says "he for the joy (of obtaining the prize...)" so we must ask ourselves; what is the prize he endured to obtain? What is the joy that awaits him?
Fellow believers, I believe that this is you and I. We are the prize and the joy for which he was prepared to endure the cross of Calvary, wonderful thought! I refer you to Isaiah 53:11 "he shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied" or as the New Living Translation puts it; "when he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied."
I thought of the lovely words of that great hymn;
Surely this should move our hearts to give thanks and worship Him? Consider that there is joy for the Saviour the day we came to know him as Saviour; he has joy as a life of faithful service for him is reviewed; and as he looks over the countless myriads of souls in heaven in his presence, ransomed and bought by his precious blood at Calvary, yes there is joy too and satisfaction for his soul! The soul that was poured out unto death, the man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief in his life on earth obtains much joy from the sinner that repents and believes on Him, this is a wonder indeed!
I trust these simple thoughts will compliment and complete the previous post and that we will all enjoy them and be encouraged as we continue to worship and serve our great Saviour.
Yours in Christ, Mark