Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (Jn. 15:11-12)
What is the joy of Jesus? Jesus’ joy is His love for the Father and the Father’s love for Him. To know such indescribable love brightens up even the darkest hours and gladdens the loneliest of souls. To love God—and to be loved by Him—satisfies the deepest desires of man. God’s joy comes from within, the world’s joy comes from without. His joy comes from a relationship with the Father, the world’s joy comes from affections of the flesh. His joy is independent of outward circumstances; the world’s joy is dependent on circumstances. Jesus knew a deep joy and a temporal sorrow; the world knows a shallow joy and an eternal sorrow. Jesus’ joy manifests itself in the depth—not the tumult—of the soul. Apart from the love of God, man cannot know this joy. Jesus gives the commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.”
Never mind though he does not hold your theology; never mind though he be very ignorant and narrow as compared with you; never mind though your outlook on the world may be entirely unlike his. Never mind though you be a rich man and he a poor one, or you a poor one and he rich, which is just as hard to get over. Let all these secondary grounds of union and of separation be relegated to their proper subordinate place . . . (MacLaren’s Expositions).
Jesus told His disciples to follow His example by loving one another “as I have loved you.” Jesus knew that 24 hours after making this statement, His love for us would have Him nailed to the cross. When we follow His example and love those He has placed in our lives, we can expect to be hurt, misunderstood, and sacrificed. At the very core of love is sacrifice. If Jesus, our Teacher and Leader, sacrificed His life for us, can we expect any less for our own lives? With God’s love comes affliction of the heart. With God’s love comes pain. With God’s love comes joy. The joy of the Lord. This is our pattern for living; this is our pattern for dying. His love. Our hope. Our joy.
Do you know that deep inner joy that comes from God’s love for you? Today you can abide in God’s love; you can know His joy—that deep joy sprinkled with sacrifice and sorrow. Won’t you let God’s love for you shine in your dark heart? Remember, Jesus is “wanting as a friend to give light and love to all who live.”