We return in our study of the Word of God to Luke chapter 10 and what is a remarkable portion of Scripture for us, Luke chapter 10 verses 21 to 24 in our ongoing look at this immense and enriching biography of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me read these verses for you. Verse 21: "At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit and said, 'I praise Thee, oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth: That Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well pleasing in Thy sight.' All things have been handed over to Me by My Father and no one knows who the Son is except the Father and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. And turning to the disciples He said privately, 'Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see for I say to you that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see and they did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear and they did not hear them.'"
We started to look at this passage last week. We'll finish in...finish looking at it next week. We can't hurry through this. We shouldn't hurry through any portion of Scripture. Slower is always better than faster, lest we bypass some marvelous, rich truth that God has revealed to us in His Word. But in particular, this passage deserves our careful attention because it is notable for being the only time in the New Testament where we are told that Jesus rejoiced. It's a rare jewel here for us. Dwelling on it is profoundly enriching, if not life changing.
Verse 21 begins, "At that very time He rejoiced greatly." This is the only time that is ever said of Him. Jesus rejoicing? Prophet, as we noted last time, said He would be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Here we see Him rejoicing. When you think of God, when you think of His majesty and you think of His glory, what attributes of God come to mind? What do you think of? God is a spirit. You don't have a visual image of God. If you're like me, when you think about God you think about attributes. In fact, typically when I think about God, my mind goes directly to the page of the Bible where is recorded something about Him. I view God as the reflection of those truths of His nature that are revealed on the pages of Scripture. And typically all of us would say, "Well He's holy and He's omnipotent and He's omniscient and He's omnipresent and He's immutable and He's gracious and loving and He's wise and He is judgmental and righteous, and He executes wrath." We would go through those kinds of things.
Do you ever think of God as joyful? That thought ever enter your mind? It's pretty rare, if it ever has. For absolutely no good reason, that thought doesn't enter our minds. We don't think about God as joyful because we assume that He's so upset with most of what we know goes on. He's got to be upset all the time about the devil and He's got to be upset all the time about the demons. And He has to be upset all the time about sinners and what they do and what we do and what's wrong in the world and how His name is dishonored and how His Son is dishonored and how His precious Word is ignored, or misinterpreted or misrepresented. God certainly has to be as basically upset as we are. How could He be joyful? He has to be too serious. Too much is wrong in the world. And doesn't Jeremiah picture Him weeping? And didn't God incarnate, the Lord Jesus, weep over sin and weep over death and didn't He weep over unbelief and rejection? And didn't He weep with strong crying and tears in anticipation of His own sin-bearing on the cross? And so we assume when we start to talk about the attributes of God, we wouldn't put joy as one of them.
But the truth is, not apart from everything else God is, He is perfectly and eternally joyful. He is rejoicing right now and always. For all eternity His joy is undiminished by any circumstance, by any situation. It is untouchable, imperturbable joy. He is perfectly joyful.
Now we have some evidence of the joy of God in the fact that we have been created in His image and we understand what joy is, right? We know what it is to be happy. We know what it is to be glad. We understand that in contrast to sorrow and sadness. That is a reflection of the imagio dei, the image of God in us. We also understand that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, so we know that the Holy Spirit if He dispenses joy must possess it. If it comes as a gift from the Holy Spirit to an obedient believer, He must be Himself joyful. In fact, the Bible talks a lot about God's joy. Psalm 4:7 says that God has put gladness in my heart. The joy that I experience is a reflection of the joy of God. Psalm 16:11 says, "In Your presence is fullness of joy." Wherever God is, in His presence joy is complete. The same Psalm says that at the right hand of God are pleasures forever more. If you were to go right now into the very throne room of heaven, you would find the place is dominated by joy. It is a celebration beyond comprehension. It is pleasure and delight and fullness of joy.
We get a little taste of that when we are converted. We go beyond just the human joy that is measured out to us as God's creatures, we go to another level of joy and that's the joy of the Holy Spirit. Paul in Romans 14 says the kingdom of God is joy in the Holy Spirit. And we have a level of joy that those outside the kingdom don't have. When we study the Scripture we read, for example, in John's letter, "These things I write unto you that your joy may be full." John 15:11, Jesus said, "These things I've spoken to you that My joy might remain in you." The Holy Spirit is joyful, the Son is joyful, the Father is joyful and they are the source of our joy. In Zephaniah, the prophet, chapter 3 verse 17 says, "The Lord your God is in your midst. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy." God is so joyful that He shouts. It's not a minimal joy. It's maximal, it's infinite joy. It's immeasurable joy. To put it in the vernacular, God is so glad about everything that's going on in His universe that His joy is absolutely infinite. God experiences pure undiminished joy, pure and absolute, consummate delight, because everything in this universe ultimately works to His perfect pleasure, His perfect satisfaction.
God sings songs of joy. God is probably a tenor because that's the joyful end of the spectrum, isn't it? God sings songs of joy. Jeremiah 32:41, "’Yes, I will rejoice over them with all My heart and with all My soul,’ says God.” Can you imagine God being that joyful? All that says that, God possesses pure joy, consummate joy, absolute joy. So next time somebody asks you to describe God, speak of Him being joyful. Speak of Him being so joyful that He literally shouts out loud because of the gladness that He experiences. That He rejoices with all His heart and with all His soul.
Now what gives Him so much to be glad about? Well the same thing that made Jesus glad. So when you get in touch with the statement, "He rejoiced greatly," you're touching the very character of God, the very nature of God in Christ.
Let me take it a step further. God's joy is the ultimate purpose for which all His attributes function. He is holy and He is just and He is good and He is merciful and gracious and He is vengeful and He is wrathful, etc., etc., so that in the end He will have put Himself fully on display and in that full display of His glory He will find His fullest joy. If you want to talk about heaven and what heaven is, you can sum it up with that word, joy, joy. All God's attributes are employed by God to secure His eternal joy and the eternal joy along with Him of all the inhabitants of heaven. So when you think about heaven you don't want to get caught up in all kinds of things. Just think of it this way: Everything in heaven will be so perfect, so wondrous, so astonishing, so amazing and so permanent as to produce consummate, ever-lasting pleasure, delight and joy. That's why there's no more sadness, no more tears, no more crying. Any study of Scripture that looks at the revelation concerning heaven and eternal life makes it clear that the dominant reality of heaven is sheer, unmixed, infinite joy forever, the kind of joy that comes out of the most incomprehensible satisfaction, the likes of which we have never known because eye has not seen, ear has not heard the things that God has prepared for them that love Him. We have no concept of that level of joy because we have no concept of that level of satisfaction. The final reward for believers is this. Jesus said it, Matthew 25:21: "Enter into the joy of your Lord." Go up there and rejoice forever with God. God is perfectly joyful, infinitely joyful and we go to heaven to enter His joy.
Listen to the benediction of Jude: "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy..." Jesus when He prayed for us, John 17, His high priestly prayer, prayed that we would have His joy made complete in us. God seeks your joy because your eternal joy contributes to His eternal joy. His joy is consummate when He has brought to fruition and to glory all the redeemed humanity whom He determined to save before time began. When the plan of redemption is finished and all His attributes have been put on display — mercy, grace as well as justice and judgment, blessing as well as wrath — when everything has been displayed and He has gathered around Him all who belong in His presence, holy angels and redeemed humanity, His joy is complete and we enter in to that joy. He has fully displayed the spectrum of His attributes, which He never could have done without Fall and without sin and without redemption and without judgment. It's been all disclosed and we will forever rejoice in Him, sharing His joy. The Father is eternally joyful, the Son is eternally joyful, the Spirit is eternally joyful and we'll enter their joy. Heaven is just the place of pure joy, pure delight where nothing, nothing disappoints, nothing diminishes joy. It is unassailable joy because this is God. This often overlooked reality, the joy of God, is revealed in the beauty of this text. I'm so glad for this text. We see it here in the God-Man. He rejoiced greatly.
You might ask the question: Well, are you sure He understood what was going on? I mean, how...how could He rejoice greatly? His disciples who had gone out to preach the gospel had been rebuffed in certain places. There were villages and towns, as we already learned, who didn't want anything to do with Jesus. The seventy who have been sent out in this particular text, all the way from verse 1, we've been following their wonderful ministry, and certainly there were times when there was success in their ministry, but they also ran into the mounting persecution and growing hostility and hatred toward Jesus and rejection of the gospel. Jesus knew what John wrote, “He was in the world, the world was made by Him, the world knew Him not, He came to His own, His own received Him not.” Jesus knew what was going on. He knew there was resentment, rejection. He knew His own townspeople in Nazareth that tried to throw Him off a cliff after one sermon, they wanted Him dead. He knew the Jewish elite, the religious structure of Judaism despised and hated Him were already plotting His death and less than a year from now actually would turn Him over to the Romans where He would be crucified. From a human viewpoint, this is really not what you might have hoped for. It was getting more and more apparent as time went on that He was not about to establish an earthly kingdom, the kingdom that had been promised to David with the blessings that had been promised to Abraham. “That just doesn't look like it's happening,” would be the normal perception of the disciples. Instead He's being more and more hated, more and more rejected, and those who are His followers who carry out the message along with Him are more and more becoming stigmatized with the hatred that is directed at Him.
How could He rejoice greatly? How could He do that? You see, we view that from an earthly perspective, don't we? We get caught up in the same thing. We really do. I mean, you go through life and you...you struggle to rejoice if you just look at what's going on around you. I mean, the world is getting worse and worse. Evil men grow worse and worse. There's more rejection of the gospel, more denunciation of the Scripture, more dishonor to Jesus Christ, more dishonor to God going on all over the place and there are all the problems that come into your life and my life and we get caught up in all those circumstances and it...it assaults our joy. It shouldn't. It does. There's a place for weeping and a place for sorrow as we saw in the case of Jesus. But on the one hand, you could weep over things that should be wept over. But on the other hand, that never assaulted His joy. And here we get a glimpse of that joy that was just there eternally all the time.
What prompted this by Luke, "He rejoiced greatly"? What prompted Jesus' joy? Well if you go back to verse 17, you remember the seventy had been sent out to announce that Jesus was coming to towns and villages where He would be visiting and to preach the gospel of the kingdom, forgiveness of sin, salvation. And when they came back, thirty-five of two... As some manuscripts say seventy-two, so it would be thirty-six teams of two. “When they came back they said, with joy,” verse 17, “’The demons are subject to us in Your name.’" They came back rejoicing. They came back so joyful because they literally went out with a message that invaded the kingdom of darkness, broke the hold of demon powers, and set the captives free. They rejoiced at that. They rejoiced that the...that the power of the gospel was still operative and it could still invade the kingdom of darkness and set the prisoners free. They were rejoicing.
And Jesus said to them in verse 20, "Do not rejoice in this." He doesn't mean don't rejoice in this at all. He... He is saying don't rejoice in this only. There's something better, rejoice not that the spirits are subject to you but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven. Don't tie your joy to this earth. Don't even tie your joy to evangelistic success. Don't even tie your joy to the conversion of someone else because there are going to be times when that's not going to happen and people aren't going to respond. Tie your joy to the eternal realities.
I understand that as a preacher. I don't ebb and flow, rise and fall based upon how people respond to my messages. Yes, I rejoice that the power of the gospel shatters the chains of death and hell and Satan and demons and sets prisoners free, that it smashes the fortifications in which people are entombed and brings them captive to Christ. Yes I rejoice in that, but even more than that, I rejoice in that eternal plan which is already set: my name and your names and all the names of those recorded in heaven. And it's at that point as Jesus comments on their heaven reality of all the names that are there that He rejoices greatly. See, His joy was tied to the eternal, not the temporal. It wasn't even tied to the success or failure of temporal ministry. It was tied to the reality of the eternal purposes of God. There are people who don't like to think about that. They don't like to talk about election, the doctrine of God's sovereign choosing unto salvation and working that out in time in bringing all whom He's chosen to eternal glory, but that was the cause of Jesus to rejoice greatly. If Jesus rejoiced in the doctrine of election, I will. He... In the midst of persecution, in the midst of rejection, moving fast toward the cross, understanding what was coming, understanding that the people of Israel would reject Him, understanding that the leaders hated Him and were out for His blood, understanding all of that that was going on, He rejoiced greatly, not connected so much with some success of the gospel here and there, but His joy was connected to that eternal, unfolding, redemptive purpose of God which never can be altered. That's why it's unassailable.
And so we see in verse 21 that He rejoiced. Then we ask the question: What caused His joy? What specifically caused Jesus' joy? And I told you last week, number one. There are three things that caused His joy: number one, the sovereign pleasure of the Father. He says in verse 21, "I praise Thee, oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth,” sovereign of the universe, the One who is in charge, the One whose sovereignty is fixed and settled forever. “I praise Thee, oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight." What brought Jesus joy? The sovereign pleasure of the Father which He knew was being worked out. Whatever God pleases to do, He does. No matter what men may do or not do, the sovereign pleasure of God is what brings satisfaction and delight to the heart of God the Son. "I praise Thee, oh Father," He says. "I praise Thee, oh sovereign of the universe: That the mission hasn't failed. My mission hasn't failed, it was that You chose to hide these things and then to others you chose to reveal these. And, in fact, it was pleasing to You that the gospel would never be attainable through human wisdom or human intelligence."
Did you get that? That's what we talked about last week. It's not discernable by any human means. And I used the illustration last Sunday of saying this: Just on a human level, you can never get to know a person if that person doesn't disclose themself to you. You could never know me if I didn't disclose my heart to you. You could see me. You could know something about me. You can never know me unless I choose to reveal myself to you. And that's so true in God's case, and God determined that only babes would receive that revelation, not the intelligent and not the wise. Now that's not to say, as we saw last week, that being intelligent or being wise is a barrier in itself. What it is to say is: That through human wisdom and through human intelligence you can't get there. First Corinthians 1, "The world by wisdom knew not God. The natural man understands not the things of God. They are to him foolishness." Show me an unregenerate person, very wise, very intelligent with all kinds of degrees, one professing himself to be wise and he's nothing more than a fool because by means of human wisdom, human religion, human philosophy, human understanding, human thinking you can't get to God. God has to come to you through revelation. You have to become a babe. You have to say it's not by my intelligence, it's not by my human wisdom, not by my human understanding or religion or achievement. You come like a babe with nothing, no achievement, no accomplishment, helpless, hopeless defenseless with nothing to commend you. And you say, "I have nothing to offer and I will die if I'm not fed by someone else." That's the attitude of a babe. God designed saving gospel to be revealed but it's only apprehended by those who are babes, the meek, the lowly, the broken, the contrite, the penitent, the nobodies, the not many noble, the not many mighty. Intelligence and human wisdom is a head trip and it induces pride and pride becomes the barrier. We saw all this last week.
Why did God do this, this way? Why didn't God make the gospel available just to the intelligent and the wise? Well then it would be to their credit, wouldn't it? God made it available only to those who admit that there is no human way to get to it, who have to come like babies, dependent to receive from God. Why did He do it? Jesus says He did it because it was well pleasing in His sight? Why? Because it pleased Him; it pleased Him to be the source of salvation. It pleased Him to be the only one to receive the praise and the honor and the glory and the thanks so that when we boast, we cannot boast in ourselves but only in Him.
It was well pleasing to God. It gave Him joy to receive all the glory of which He is so worthy. And so, it was pleasing to Him to be glorified in the salvation of those who recognized they contribute nothing to it. And this attitude of the Son toward the Father here fits the love that the Son has for the Father. "Oh Father, yes, Father." He's saying, "I rejoice that it's working the way it pleases You." When you love somebody, you want to what? Want to please them. You want their delight, you want their joy. You want their satisfaction. The gospel then is only for the humble and the meek and the broken and the penitent and those who reject human intelligence and human wisdom as a means of salvation so that when someone is delivered from the kingdom of Satan into God's glorious kingdom, it is divine revelation does it through the Word of God by the means of the Spirit, breaking the sinner down, making him penitent like a baby, and all the glory goes to God and God delights in that glory to which He's entitled. And the Son loves the Father so much that He is delighted by the Father's pleasure. So the Son says, "Look, I realize that nobody is going to have a place in Your kingdom unless it pleases You to give them one. And there is no human means to get there. So, Father, My joy is tied to Your perfect, sovereign purpose, the sovereign honor, glory of the Father."
The second element in Jesus joy, the second source of His joy, the sovereign purpose of the Father being the first, the second, the supreme power of the Son, the supreme power of the Son. Verse 22, this is really a remarkable verse. A lot of Scripture we could deal with. We have in the past, we won't this morning. But look at verse 22, here's the second reason for His joy. "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father and no one knows who the Son is except the Father and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."
Things are going along in the redemptive program of God in perfect order. They're going along exactly the way the Father pleases and exactly the way the Son wills. The sovereign Father made the determination and the sovereign Son is in perfect agreement with that and effects it. He finds joy in the role that He has. This is a profound verse, by the way, and yet we try to make it simple. Look at how it starts: "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father." Within the Trinity everything is shared. The Father has handed all things over to Me. And somebody is going to say, "Well what are all things?" And I'm going to say, "All things." Well what does that mean? It means there's nothing that wasn't handed over to Him; everything. The Father so perfectly trusts the Son that He hands the working out of this redemptive plan completely to the Son. He delivers over all the names, as it were, written before the foundation of the world in the Lamb's Book of Life, He gives them over to Christ and hands Him the redemptive plan. All things means, “all things.”
In John 3 verse 35, the Father loves the Son, it tells you why He did it, and has given all things into His hand. John 13 verse 3 essentially says the same thing: "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands..." Jesus is not trying to convince the Father of anything. He's not trying to sort of talk the Father into anything. He's not trying to get in line with the Father. The Father's not trying to force Him to submit to Him. They are in perfect harmony and perfect agreement. The Father has a sovereign purpose. The Son has supreme power to bring that purpose to pass. The Father turns the whole operation over to the Son. It's even the Son who goes back to glory and sends the Holy Spirit. It's even the Son who intercedes. It's even the Son who returns to take the church. It's the Son who returns to destroy the ungodly. It's the Son who returns to set up His kingdom because the Father has turned the whole operation over to the Son. That's why in the book of Revelation as the book opens the title deed to the universe is unrolled and you remember, they unrolled... They wanted to unroll it, and the gathering around the throne of God, they began to weep because there was no one to unroll the scroll.
And then the Lion that looked like a lamb stepped up, being the Son, and He broke the seals and unrolled it because He is the one to whom the Father has given the authority to unfold the whole plan, to unroll the redemptive saga, the prewritten history of redemption. He then controls all things in time, all things in eternity. He controls all evangelism to the ultimate end of what pleases the Father, what has been predetermined before the foundation of the world. He controls all things in eternity that work to that effect. He controls all human components and all angelic ones and demonic ones. He controls all the circumstances of the universe. He controls every situation to bring it to the very point where it needs to be brought in order for the gospel to be proclaimed to the person whom God has chosen that they might believe and be saved. History is His story and He is writing it as the Father already designed it to be written.
We have seen His power over Satan already exhibited in His life, haven't we? We've seen His power over demons. We've seen His power over disease. We've seen His power over death. We've seen His power over nature. We've seen His power over sin. We've seen all of that. We know that He controls it. In Matthew 28:18 Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me." His authority is absolutely supreme. He has authority over earth. He has authority over heaven. He has authority over hell. He has authority over men, over angels and over demons. He has authority over time. He has authority over eternity. He has authority over life. He has authority over death, all things. He has authority over salvation and damnation, over grace and judgment. He has authority over truth and righteousness and glory and peace and comfort. He has authority over all rest, all hope, all deliverance from temptation. He has authority over overcoming the world. He has authority over communion with God and gives it to those whom He wills. He has authority over all things. He is the Almighty Lord, the giver of divine gifts of grace, the executor of all divine works. He is the Prince of Life and He is the captain of our salvation. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. His authority is absolutely supreme. And that is why that incredibly powerful passage in Romans chapter 8 can be stated as strongly as it is stated. "I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created things shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Nothing can assault successfully the sovereign, supreme purpose of God or the sovereign power of the Son. The whole of the eternal plan of God is unfolding through the will of the Son and by the power of the Spirit.
Now back to verse 22. So, this is critical, "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father." And then He says, "No one knows who the Son is except the Father." Let me stop right there. No one would know who the Son is if the Father hadn't chosen to reveal Him, right? The only one who had perfect knowledge of the Son is the Father and the Spirit. Within the Trinity they have perfect knowledge of each other. We would never know the Son. Oh there's some references to the Son. They're somewhat vague and limited in the Old Testament. You have them in Psalm 2, you have the messianic prophecies, you have the Messiah being born in Bethlehem and you have some things like that, but we would never know... We would never know the Son if the Father hadn't chosen to send Him. If the Father hadn't revealed Him we would never know the Son. The point that He's emphasizing here is look, nobody, nobody knows God, nobody knows the Son of God, nobody has salvation unless the Father has purposed it and the Son has effected it. No one knows who the Son is except the Father. The true knowledge of the Son is known only to the Father and none of us would know it if the Father had not revealed Him.
And He goes on to say, on the other side, no one knows who the Father is except the Son. We would never know the real truth of the Father. Oh we have much of His nature revealed in the Old Testament, but He is presented to us most magnificently, most completely, most comprehensively in the Son, is He not? In the Son. If you've seen Me, he says, what? You've seen the Father, I and the Father are one. Show us the Father. “If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father.” No one would know the Father if the Son hadn't revealed Him. No one would know the Son if the Father hadn't revealed Him. The point that Jesus is making is look, this is all just as God had planned it. And then He closes that verse by saying, "And no one is going to know the Son or the Father except the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." I mean, that could not be more clear could it? You're never going to know God and you're never going to know the Son of God unless He wills that you know Him, unless He wills that you know Him. God did will that we know Him, that's why He revealed Himself. He spoke, first of all, in the Scriptures and then He spoke in His Son. We know the Father because He wanted to reveal Himself and He revealed Himself in the Son. We know the Son because the Father chose to reveal the Son. We looked at the Son and what did we see? John 1, "We beheld His glory," John 1:14, "and it was the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." We looked at the Son and we saw the Father. "But He came unto His own and His own received Him not. He was in the world, the world was made by Him and the world received Him not, but to as many as received Him He gave the right to become (what?) children of God." To those of us who received the revelation of the Father in the Son and the Son's disclosure of the Father, to those of us who received the Son, the truth was opened, blindness turned to sight, death to life.
We would never know if the Son hadn't revealed. This is the plan. The sovereign purpose of God sets the redemptive scheme in motion. The supreme power of the Son reveals both the Father and the Son and reveals it to whomever He will. The world by wisdom knows not God, knows not God.
The Holy Spirit, of course, is the agent in this revelation because it was the Holy Spirit, you remember, first of all it was the Holy Spirit who came upon Mary and planted in her the life of the Son. That which was conceived in her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin and righteousness and judgment. It is the Holy Spirit who authors the Scripture. It is the Holy Spirit who worked through Jesus during His life on earth. It is the Holy Spirit who having been sent is the agent of regeneration. We are born of the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us, shaping us into the image of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the instrument used by the Son to bring about the plan that the Father had purposed. The Father purposes, the Son brings to pass through the agency of the Spirit. And the Son has supreme authority to do whatever He wills. Whatever He wills to do He does.
It's interesting to look at the life of Jesus that way, isn't it? He said, "If I wanted to I could command legions of angels," right? Come down here right now if I wanted to. He said nobody takes My life from Me, I what? I lay it down by Myself. Everything is on schedule. Folks, this is the way to live your life, you understand that? I'm tempted to want to fix the world around me, are you? Fix everything. Get all caught up in the temporal stuff and fix it. Can you imagine what a temptation that must have been to Jesus because He could? But He just took it because there was a transcendent plan. You know, the sooner you learn this, the sooner I learned it in my life, the sooner I began to enjoy my joy. I really don't rise and fall. I really don't ebb and flow because my joy is not attached to what goes on here. I can't fix it. I can't change it. All I can do is be faithful to do what He's called me to do and do it to the best of my ability with all my might and all my power till the day I lose my mind and they shovel me off to the home or I drop dead, OK? That's all I can do. And to me it's not because I'm trying to work out John MacArthur's plan. I'm just absolutely rejoicing all the time to even be included as somebody who can function in God's plan. What great privilege this is. Let's be honest with you, I just can't get caught up in everything. I just can't fix the world. I just can't fix all the environment. All I can do is preach the truth and preach the truth and preach the truth, proclaim it everywhere I can far and wide through every medium possible because that's what the Lord has asked me to do. But my joy is not tied to success or failure. Jesus said, you know, you can be rejoicing over those kinds of things, but in the end, get your joy off what goes on even in ministry and rejoice that your name is written in heaven, which is another way of saying, don't tie your joy to what goes on here, start tying your joy to what's coming. No matter how bad things are here, no matter how many disappointments there are here, I mean, what does it really matter in the light of eternity? My name is written there and that's where I'm going. And I'm going to enter into the joy of the Lord and it will be nothing but joy forever. And I'm going to start enjoying some of that joy to come now. The purpose of God is unfolding and the power of the Son to bring that purpose to pass is an immutable, unassailable power. That is so greatly encouraging. Jesus' joy was a result of the sovereign pleasure of the Father which He knew would come to pass, and the supreme power that had been given to Him which He also knew would bring it to pass. That's where His joy was. And when those seventy came back and they just injected that joy into that meeting and they started rejoicing about success in ministry, He said, "Wait a minute, guys, that ebbs and flows, as My life will be living testimony to. Rejoice for what's waiting for you in heaven."
You say, "Well, you know, this could be a little discouraging because this is that doctrine of election again." Well, it is that great doctrine of election and it's not a doctrine I preach because I like it, it's a doctrine I preach because I like it and it happens to be true. And I like anything that's true. In fact, I love it because it's true. But there's a balance to it and I want to show you that. Turn to Matthew chapter 11, Matthew chapter 11. Here is the same moment, the same event, the same words of Jesus. This is Matthew's record of what we're learning in Luke. Verse 25, he doesn't mention Jesus' joy. I told you, Luke's the only one that mentions it. But he says, "At that time," the time when the seventy came back, "Jesus answered and said..." Notice, the words are the same, "I praise Thee, oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise, intelligent, didst reveal them to babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, no one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." Exact parallel to Luke.
But look at the next verse. He's just said the purpose of God; He's doing whatever pleases Him. The power of the Son, He's revealing the truth to whoever He wills, the great doctrine of sovereign election, but notice the next verse, 28, "Come unto Me (who?) all." Isn't the doctrine of election always balanced with that open invitation? "Come unto Me all." All who are elect? No. All who are what? Weary, heavy laden, all of you that are sick of your sin, all of you that are sick of trying to find the truth through human intelligence and human wisdom, all of you who are tired of bearing the burden of legalism, trying to earn your way to heaven through your works, all of you who are tired of the rules and regulations and ceremonies of Judaism that have you weighed down. And He's saying, "Come to Me, all you that are willing to be meek and lowly and broken and contrite and penitent and want to off-load the horrendous burden of trying to earn your way along." Always great doctrine of election is balanced by this universal invitation, come. Jesus even said, "You will not come to Me that you might have life." “Why will you die?” the Bible says. “Choose you this day whom you may serve.” Whosoever will: Let him come.
I don't understand how those things harmonize in the mind of God, they're no problem for Him and that's no problem for me. But I'm telling you this: Jesus rejoiced that the plan was on schedule. He rejoiced not only the Father's purpose was indomitable but His power was unassailable and in the end all those whom the Father had chosen who were given to the Son, John 6, He would receive, He would keep and He would raise. None would be lost. And it was all because their names were recorded in heaven before the world began. But still, all of you, any of you, if you're weary of your sin and sick and tired of carrying the burden of having to save yourself through morality or religion, come to Jesus, come to Jesus, and He'll give you what? Rest. Rest. "Take My yoke on you," He says. "Link up with Me and learn from Me. I'm gentle and humble in heart." That's the amazing reality. This One supreme in power is humble in heart. Learn humility, He says. Learn meekness, I'll give you rest. “You will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah, that's quoted from Jeremiah. Jeremiah said God would provide rest when sinners repented, when Israel repented. And Jesus says I'm here, I'm bringing the rest, the rest from your weary struggle with sin and your weary struggle with trying to earn your salvation, give it up, learn from Me, humble yourselves, be lowly, I'll give you rest. And once you're linked with Me, My yoke is what? “Easy, My burden is light.”
The plan of redemption was unfolding in spite of the agonies that Jesus was experiencing along with His disciples. The sovereign pleasure of the Father would come to pass. The supreme power of the Son would bring it to pass through the means of the Holy Spirit. And because that is true, the Son rejoices. Joy was constant in Jesus as it is in the Spirit and in the Father and as it should be in us. I admit, I may not be superficially happy and giddy because I do live in this world and so did Jesus and He wasn't. But I also confess to you that no matter what may happen or what may go wrong there is profoundly deep in my soul a literally untouchable joy because I know who's in charge of everything.
Now there's one more point in this three-point outline. That's next Sunday. The third cause of His joy: the surpassing privilege of the saints. Did you know that He rejoices over you? We're going to talk about that next time.
Father, we thank You for this confidence. We thank You for this motivation for joy. May we be motivated to the same joy Jesus experiences, joy in the sovereign pleasure of the Father and joy in the supreme power which He Himself possesses. How wonderful that You've revealed this to us. The knowledge of it is so encouraging, so comforting, so strengthening. It pulls us up from the mundane and lifts us to the heavenlies. Thank You that You've included us and that as well you call out to any and all who have not yet embraced this salvation. Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. May there be some today weary with sin, overburdened with self-effort to please You, who let it all go and humbly and meekly like a baby fall before the gospel and receive eternal life. And may we all live sharing the joy of Jesus that His joy may be in us that our joy may be full. If He could rejoice in the midst of what He was going through — unimaginable that the sinless one should so suffer — if He could rejoice, how can we the recipients of grace not rejoice no matter what this world may offer, knowing that our names are recorded in heaven. We thank You for the joy of our Lord, we desire to enter into it in His name. Amen.
This article is also available and sold as a booklet.
This sermon series includes the following messages:
Please contact the publisher to obtain copies of this resource.Publisher Information