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.
Jesus lived under the Mosaic Law. We live in the Church. When we consider this we might think that His way of life does not apply to our way of life. In the legal sense that is true, but His relationship and fellowship with his Father, His obedience to the Father, His dependence on the Word of God, His dependence on the Holy Spirit, His faithful life, and His character are all examples for us who live in the church. Jesus demonstrated these characteristics for us and they are lessons to learn and to apply to ourselves. So in this sense He is our model for how to live. John 17 presents Jesus’ greatest test. We all face tests and crises—some big and some little. Can we follow Jesus’ model?
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. Luke 22.39-46 tells us the enormous pressure that Jesus was under and his response to the crisis. We can follow His model and imitate Him. Jesus shows us five personal characteristics in his prayer. Jesus was confident that he had a good relationship and good fellowship with His heavenly Father, and that he had obeyed His Father’s word. He was convinced that he was in the right place at the right time—teaching His disciples, praying to His Father, and ready for the cross. He was committed to the Father’s will—dying for the sins of the world on the cross outside Jerusalem. Therefore, he was content—a godly satisfaction and calm. The result was that he had joy even though the crisis was upon Him because 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 they and we are to live after He has been crucified and ascended to heaven. So His instructions also apply us. 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 spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4.13, Galatians 4.19, Romans 13.14, 2 Peter 1.4).
- The question: is there a summary objective model from Jesus that we can follow? 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. A person’s true character shows when under great pressure—crisis brings 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 1 Corinthians 11.1.
- 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 doing his Father’s will; and He content in His Father’s will. Therefore, He was joyful in his circumstances. These are applicable to us in the way we live.
- Jesus’ prayer in John 17 emphasizes many things. Among them, these ideas stand out and they indicate Jesus’ character and faith as He faced the cross. The below key ideas run throughout the prayer. I have listed verses in which we can see them, but actually the entire prayer shines out to us that Jesus was confident, convinced, committed, content, and had joy.
- Jesus was confident that He had an excellent relationship and fellowship with His Father (John 17.1-3,5,9,10,22,23,24). Note the use of the word Father in John 17.1,5,11,21,24,25.
- Jesus was convinced that he was in the right place at the right time (John 17.4,6,7,8,11,11,12,14,25).
- Jesus was committed to doing His Father’s will (John 17.1,5,11,19,20,21, 24,26).
- Jesus was content that He was in the right place at the right time—in the Father’s will (John 17.4,6,8,11,13,18,19,20,21,22,23,25,26).
- 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 (John 17.13). See John 15.11.
- All of these worked together so that He was productive, successful, thankful, and joyful (John 17.13, John 19.30, Hebrews 12.2).
- We can do the same by understanding and applying Bible teaching each day of our lives. We can be content in His will and joyful in the circumstances.
So What? Application
- Let’s each one of us ask ourselves:
- Am I confident that I have a good relationship and good fellowship with my heavenly Father?
- Am I convinced that I am in the right place at the right time?
- Am I committed to doing my Father’s will?
- Am I content now in my Father’s will?
- And, finally, am I joyful in my Christian life and circumstances because I am applying what I have learned from Jesus?
A sample of Scripture that complements this subject
- John 15.11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
- 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.”
- Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
- Galatians 5.22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
- 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.”
- Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
- 2 Corinthians 12.10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
- Philippians 4.11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
- 1 Timothy 6.8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
- Hebrews 13.5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”