Jesus' Joy in a crisis, our model, John 17
Joy comes from doing God's will when in fellowship with God. This is expressed in such Scripture as John 17 and Hebrews 12.2.
The Psalms we have been studying picture people under different circumstances related to people, to nations, to hardship, to praise of God, and to the future. Though they were primarily written to Israel living under the Law of Moses, they instruct us about God, people, and life. The faith and life Jesus lived also instructs us. Though he lived under the Mosaic Law, His dependence on the Word of God, His faithful life, His obedience to the Father, His dependence on the Holy Spirit, and His character are all examples and models for us who live in the church. Jesus demonstrated these characteristics for us and they are lessons to apply. So in this sense He is our model for how to live, and one area that we all face is life's tests and crises.
A person's true character shows when under great pressure. Crisis brings out the real person. John 17, the Lord's prayer, shows us the model of Jesus' character just before His arrest, trials, and crucifixion. We can follow His model and imitate Him. Jesus was confident that he had a good relationship and good fellowship with His heavenly Father. He was convinced that he was in the right place at the right time. He was committed to the Father's will. Therefore he had joy even though the crisis was upon Him because He knew that he was in the Father's will. Circumstances brought out the best in Him.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11.1, "be imitators of me as I also am of Christ" "μιμηταί μου γίνεσθε καθὼς κἀγὼ Χριστοῦ" and in 1 Thessalonians 1.6, "You also became imitators of us and of the Lord," Καὶ ὑμεῖς μιμηταὶ ἡμῶν ἐγενήθητε καὶ τοῦ κυρίου" so Jesus Christ is a model for us in His attitude, character, and faithfulness to the Father. Ephesians 4.13, Galatians 4.19, Romans 13.14, and 2 Peter 1.4 also teach us that we are to take on Jesus Christ's character and faithfulness to the Father. We often call this Christ-likeness.
- John 13-17, the upper room discourse, is Jesus' instructions to His disciples about how to live after He has been crucified and ascended to heaven. His instructions also apply us according to John 17.20. I refer you to the study of John 13-17, the basic techniques for the Christian life, and the umbrella diagram illustration. The doctrines that Jesus taught in the upper room and other Christian life doctrines are the foundation from which the Holy Spirit develops Christ-likeness in believers. Christ-likeness is our goal and we call that spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4.13, Galatians 4.19, Romans 13.14, 2 Peter 1.4).
- Jesus was enduring the greatest test in history. How was he handling it? Can we learn how to face our test and our suffering? Are there things that we can learn that will help us live? Is Jesus a model for us?
- We can look at the characteristics of Jesus Christ (doctrine of character of Jesus Christ with 20 characteristics) but that may be difficult to hold in our minds all at once. I think that the best example is Jesus under great crisis. Great pressure and crisis bring out a person's real character. John 17, the Lord's prayer, shows us the model of Jesus' character just before His arrest, trials, and crucifixion. We can follow His model and imitate Him. Also see Ephesians 5.1-2 and Corinthians 11.1.
- Jesus' prayer in John 17 emphasizes many things. Among them, three ideas stand out that indicate Jesus' character and faith as He faced the cross.
- Jesus was confident that He had an excellent relationship and fellowship with His Father.
- Jesus was convinced, committed, and content that He was in the right place at the right time—in the Father’s will.
- Jesus had joy even though the crisis was upon Him because He was in the Father's will. Circumstances brought out the best in Him.
- All of these worked together so that He was productive, successful, thankful, and joyful (John 17.13, John 19.30, Hebrews 12.2).
So What? Application
It is really matter of faith that God loves us and we are in his care and plan. How do you and I face tests and suffering? We often first ask why? To that we may not know the specific answer. The first thing we can do is rely on God’s love, knowledge, power, and justice. Jesus did the same. Jesus is the person who is an example for us to imitate. Can we apply the truth we know like he did? Are we confident that we are related to God and have fellowship with him? As best we know are we in God’s will—the right place at the right time? Are we committed to do is will, even if difficult? This brings faith into the application, faith that God will do the right and best. The result within each of us can be an inner happiness and contentment called joy.
A sample of Scripture that complements this subject
Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Ephesians 4:13 “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
Galatians 4:19 “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.”
Romans 13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
2 Peter 1:4 “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
Ephesians 5:1 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me [Paul], just as I also am of Christ.”