Monday, February 27, 2012

John 17: 13-23

‘That they may have my joy within them’. Strange words for the start of Lent, a time we normally associate with fasting, confession and repentance.

But just as Lent will lead us into Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Day, so Jesus is preparing the disciples for the same events.

Jesus has been teaching them about his death, and assuring them of his Resurrection. He is equipping them to go out into a world that will be hostile to the Good News, and promising them the gift of the Holy Spirit to be with them, the truth of God’s Word for them, and the protection of God’s Name over them.

Jesus longs that every Christian, even in tough times, should have the full measure of his joy. He had already promised this - for example:

‘I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.’ (John 15:11)

‘Until now you have not asked for anything in my Name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be complete.’ (John 16:24)

Even at a solemn time like Lent, or in times of difficult personal circumstances, we can still experience the complete joy of the Lord, as we open our hearts and minds fully to his truth and purpose, and his presence.