Bible Reading: John 15:9-15
Memory Verse: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. . . . who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning the shame, and sat down on the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2).
Before He was taken prisoner by the Roman soldiers, Jesus spoke to His disciples. He said to them, "I have told you this (or these things) so that MY JOY may be in you. . . . " (John 15:11) It is hard to imagine Jesus being JOYFUL when He faced a criminal's death on a cruel cross. Jesus was not thinking of the cross and its shame, but of the victory that lay beyond, the victory of the resurrection. Because Paul believed the victory of the resurrection, he was able to shout:"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
The Bible says, "Death reigned" over all creation, from the time of Adam. "For the wages of sin is death. . . ." (Rom 6:23) Adam's sin put a great gulf between man and God. Every person inherited Adam's sin. We are sinners by nature and by choice. And sin separates every person from the life of God. (Isaiah 59:2)
But out of Christ's death came victory. Christ, in His death, "destroyed him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and set free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (Heb 2:14-15) This was the source of Christ's joy and this is the reason we can be joyful. Christ's death would fulfill the promise God gave to Adam and Eve, that the 'seed' of the woman would crush the serpent's head or authority. (Gen 3:15) He gave the same promise to Abraham" that all the world would be blessed through his 'seed'. (Gen 12:3) and to David that a king would it on his throne forever, (2 Sam. 7:12-16), and finally to all who believe. (Gal 3:29) When God had to put Adam and Eve out of the garden, He told Satan, " I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel." (Gen 3:15)
From that day onward, Satan tried to destroy the woman's offspring. He knew that One, born of a woman, would one day crush his authority and power. But he did not know who it would be or when this would happen. So Satan used his followers, the 'children of darkness,' to fight against God's children.
Cain killed Abel, a man of faith. (Gen 4:8) The Pharaoh of Egypt killed the sons of Jacob, God's people. (Ex 1:16-18) When Jesus was born, Herod ordered that the baby boys in the region of Bethlehem be killed. (Matt 2:16)
In Jesus Christ, Satan met his match. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, died for the sins of the world, and offered to the Father His sinless blood as payment for our sins. (Heb 9:12) Now "In Him we (can) have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. . . ." (Eph. 1:7)
In His last hours before He was killed, Jesus prayed to the Father, "Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son might glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all You have given Him . . . . I have brought You glory on earth by completing the word You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began." (John 17:1-5)
As He looked toward heaven and glory, joy filled the Savior's heart. The same eternal bliss waits all those who put their faith in Him. Jesus told the disciples, "I am going there (to heaven) to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:2-3)
Believe God's word and claim His promise for yourself. You can have "the joy of the Lord" in your life. Live each day looking to Jesus, and your joy will be filled up and it will overflow to others.
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