The joy of Christ was not seen during the sufferings of the bogus trials nor during the crucifixion but it was a result of these excruciating horrors. Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. He was able to enjoy the completion of redemption’s plan after great endurance of pain and after the stomach turning shame. Pain, shame, and joy are familiar threesomes in the cycles of life. There are those times of life when individuals experience their own crosses of pain. There is very little joy seen in those times. The greatest realization during these times is the presence of God who promises that “he will never leave us nor forsake us.” (Hebrews 13:5) After the times of pain, there are times of confusion, disappointment, and even shame as one wonders about the reasons for hardships and trials. It is a valley of mental darkness, but one is reminded of the promise, “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” (Psalm 23:4) Again, the promise of His presence is all that sustains. Very little joy is shown or known. His promises do give assurance, calmness, and peace. Although one may be unsure of just what is going on and just what God is doing, he stills trusts or hangs on to God’s Word. But then, the morning of joy finally comes like the Sunday morning of the Resurrection. What joy must have filled the heart of Christ. (for the joy that was set before Him) In verse one, we find a race course is set before the runner. Even so God set before His Son the course of redemption which is characterized by great joy.
After the resurrection, the Lord earnestly desired that His followers have the same joy. John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. Luke 24:52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
In our study of this era of Christianity, we have found two great characteristics that should be true of each believer—love and joy. John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. It is no surprise that these two make up part of the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Oh, would to God, we could live in such a state—love and joy. It is only through the cycle of Friday’s pain, Saturday’s despair, and Sunday’s resurrection that one can know this sweet pairing of love and joy.
If the world had continued as a perfect world as originally created, there never would have been a need for the great expression of God’s love at Calvary. We have joy because of redemption’s plan. We have joy because that plan saves us from sin. Yes, there is the pain of recognizing sin. Yes, there is the despair of attempting to find salvation through various means. However, there is great joy when one realizes the great love of God in sending his Son. For God so loved the world, a world of sinful men. There would be no cross, no expression of God’s love if there had been no sin. Christ was overjoyed with the completion of the plan of redemption. Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
George Gallup took a poll of representative groups of people to ascertain which people are the happiest. On a TV interview, he said, “Our survey showed that the happiest people are those who have a real religious experience. The most unhappy are those who frequent taverns.”
How joyous are those who can say experimentally, “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures fore evermore. (Psalm 16:11)