John 11:35, famously the shortest verse in scripture, says that Jesus wept. I once heard a preacher say there is no verse about Jesus laughing. We can get out on thin ice when we start identifying the litany of things not specified in scripture. Although the word trinity is not in the Bible, the concept of the trinity is definitely scriptural. Jesus had much to do in a very short period of time, and the demands of ministry were often overwhelming. In John 11 he wept at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus lamented that Jerusalem did not repent, agonized during the final hours before his arrest and betrayal, and at other times seemed to display almost violent anger. Is there evidence to suggest that Jesus also experienced the other end of the human spectrum of emotions? Jesus was surrounded by so many that rejected the Gospel, but a careful study of scripture reveals he didn’t mope around like all hope was lost.
Consider Jesus’ first miracle, at the wedding in Cana. (Never open with your strongest argument, because then you have nowhere to go but down). Comedian Mark Lowery points out the his first miracle was done “just to keep the party going.” Weddings in our culture are over and done with in an afternoon. You can have them done in a drive through. In first century Palestine, weddings shut down whole cities and could last for a week. Jesus didn’t turn a gallon of water into wine, or even a barrel. Jesus asked for six stone water pots that each held twenty or thirty gallons. And this was after everyone was “well drunk.” Granted, the Bible says he performed the miracle without saying he enjoyed it.
John 15 begins with the familiar passage of the vine and branches. Jesus talks about abiding in love, and so glorifying the Father. Then in verse 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” He does more than mention his joy, he wants his followers to share that same joy. And not just to have it, but that it may be full. He explains in John 16 that they will be sorrowful when he leaves them, but they will see him again and their sorrow will turn to joy. And when he says anything they ask in his name will be done, what is the reasoning? That their joy may be full.
In Matthew 25, the Parable of the Talents is an analogy for the final judgement, and he finally drops the pretenses and speaks plainly of judging the nations. What does the Master say to the servant who added to what he had been given? “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master (Lord).” At the final judgement it’s either that or “depart from me you worker of inequity, I never knew you.” By the time Jesus gets to verse 30 (place of outer darkness; wailing and gnashing of teeth) he’s not talking talking about the servant with the one talent anymore. Jesus becomes the firstborn of a large family, and we are joint heirs of all that is his to inherit. He wants us to be filled with his joy, and to have that joy to the full. Jesus explained that in this life he humbled himself, so that God could lift him up. His name is exalted above every name, which actually brings glory to God the Father. Our life is hid in Christ, we have crucified ourselves and he lives within us, then like he was raised we shall be raised with him. We will enter the joy of our Lord, his joy will be our joy, and we spend eternity with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The half has never yet been told.
Is all our joy in future glory? We live in a broken, fallen and sinful world, but we are not citizens of this world. We are ambassadors of the Kingdom, and filled with the Holy Spirit right now. Sometimes we weep; but sometimes we are overcome with the promises of scripture, that he will never leave us nor forsake us; that our sorrow will be turned to joy; that sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning. There is much to be thankful for. Sometimes we shed tears of joy. Jesus describes the world as in birth pains. As soon as the new mother holds her new born child, pain is replaced by joy and rejoicing. Sometimes we just can’t contain it and make fools of ourselves. We raise our hands, shout, sing, pray, all at the same time.
Jesus was despised and rejected, ultimately forsaken, for a time anyway, by God the Father as he hung on the cross. But he endured all things (Heb 12:2) for the joy that was set before him.