“JOY” C.I. Scofield (excerpts)

“That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” John 17:13

[M]any people in this world are content if they be merry….if they may put far
from them the burden and sorrow and care of this world, and forget its griefs
in passing jest, they are content. Happiness is an infinitely higher thing
than pleasure.

But our text holds something which is better even than happiness—and
that is joyousness. [It] might be defined as happiness overflowing…happiness
going out and beyond itself, too full to be used up in mere personal satisfaction,
an over abundance of happiness; happiness reaching out and desiring to
shine beyond the limits of one’s own soul.

[T]hree things stand over against sorrow or pain: pleasure, existing for and
ending upon self; happiness, a deeper, nobler thing; and joyousness, which
is the overflowing of happiness. If happiness might be compared to a tranquil
lake …joyousness would be like a mighty river flowing out.

“That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” John 17:13

We have here two simple ideas: Jesus Christ filled with joy —ourselves
privileged to partake of that joy until we are filled with it.

Now we do not habitually think of Jesus Christ as joyful. [The] prophet
Isaiah had said of Him that He would be:

“a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:” Isaiah 53:3

But observe, “a man of sorrows,” not of melancholy. [not moping
through life; turning fretfully toward His burden; thinking of His wrongs, of
His throne denied Him, of His people rejecting Him, and of His poverty
and humiliation in a world which He had made.”].

Yet He was a “man of sorrows.”

“My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” Matthew 26:38

But habitually He speaks of His joyfulness. This is the paradox of
Christ’s life; bearing those sorrows upon a flood-tide, as it were,
of a mighty joy. And the joy was more than the sorrow. An exultant
and joyful man of sorrows—let us try to understand this paradox.

Have you ever noticed that the nearer Jesus came to the cross, the
more He spoke of His joy? [As] Jesus went on, drawing ever nearer
to Calvary, as the burden of the shame and sin and sorrow of the
world began to gather in awful darkness over Him, observe how He
speaks more and more of His joyfulness; and in the closing
admonitions and instructions in the latter chapters of John’s Gospel,
there is a constant reference to the deep joy which filled Jesus. Just
when the sorrow is becoming deepest, the joyfulness seems to rise
above it and triumph over it.
[Isaiah’s explanation: “Surely he hath
borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:” Isaiah 53:4]

Jesus found His supreme joy in bearing the sorrow of others. He
was not joyful in spite of having the privilege of getting underneath
the sorrow and burden of guilt of the world, but He was joyful
because of this privilege. It was the great fountain head of His joy,
the very source of it. He found His joy in the cross.

Jesus would rejoice with joy unspeakable…when looking down
on this world with its sin and misery and want and woe and
mountainous iniquity, there would be ever in His heart the exultant
joy of knowing that it was He who, in due time, should come down here
and get underneath all that unspeakable guilt, and bear it away from
man up to the cross.

“But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened
till it be accomplished!” Luke 12:50

[J.N. Darby on this verse: “It was not till after (his death on the cross)
that His love would have full liberty to develop itself in power. Thus His
heart, which was love even according to the infinitude of the Godhead,
was straitened until the atonement gave free course to it, and to the
accomplishment of all the purposes of God, in which His power should
be manifested according to that love, to which this atonement was
absolutely necessary as the basis of the reconciliation of all things
in heaven and earth. The unbelief of man drove back divine love into
the heart of Christ…unable to flow forth and express itself; but its full
effect on the cross made it flow forth unhindered, in grace that reigns
through righteousness, to the vilest. J.N.D.].

Put over against this the introspective self pity, which keeps us forever
occupied with our own little round of common sorrows and infirmities,
such as belong to the life here….farther than the east is from the west or
the brightest sunlight from the darkness of midnight, is this Christ temper
of soul from the pettiness of a self-centered life. The joy of vicarious
suffering, the joy of getting underneath all that was bearing down the
heart of humanity and lifting it helpfully away—this was the joy of the Lord.


There was another source of the joy of the Lord. He rejoiced in the will
of God. Will you consider that for a moment? What a joyful thing it is
not to be left alone in this world! What a joyful thing to know that one is
not the sport of circumstances nor of accident; not in a world where things
are suffered to take their course; not orphaned amidst all these destructive
forces that move in upon us, as children of God in this world; to know
in short, that over all there is the resistless will of God. Things are not
happening to the children of God. We are moving upon an appointed
course, and the joys and sorrows of our life are all appointed and portioned
out, moulding and shaping us for better things. We have our rejoicing,
not in the pain, not in the deprivation, not in the disappointment, but
in the great overmastering will which has sent these things.

Then again, what a joy the Lord found in His mission of salvation.

“How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be
gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth in the
mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so he that
find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the
ninety and nine which went not astray.” Matthew 18:12, 13

The joy of being a Savior! Dear friends, how great a thing it is to have
one soul saved, to have hell closed and glory opened forever to one
more immortal soul! Jesus rejoicing over one sheep, and the angels
rejoicing with Him!

The joy of coming underneath human guilt as well as sorrow and pain and
burden, and bearing that guilt away vicariously, that is the supreme joy
of the Lord, – the joy suffering that others might not suffer. Paul was in the
very fellowship of this compensating joy when he wrote:

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind
of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.”
Colossians 1:24

If He suffered the others were spared; there was joy in that.

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father,
Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise
and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Luke 10:21

Do you know what that meant? Jesus had sent out the seventy
to announce the kingdom as at hand….they had not made one convert!
The mission to Israel was an absolute failure— Jesus saw that. The
thing was hid from the rulers, was hid from the nation, and was revealed
to a few fishermen and tax-gatherers and converted harlots. In that hour
Jesus rejoiced in spirit! Why? Hear His own words:

“for so it seemed good in thy sight.” Luke 10:21

Another source of joy which sustained our Lord in the supreme agony of
the cross:

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy
that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame.”
Hebrews 12:2

The joy of final consummation; the joy in anticipation of the fruition of
all His suffering, when He should see and eternally enjoy the results of it;
the joy of putting away the sins of men, of transforming them into His own
image, and of sharing with them the eternal [intense happiness].
Beyond question we do not live enough in the inspiration of the
compensations and balancing of heaven.

Now…the human side of joy:

“That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” John 17:13

How shall we have the joy of the Lord? [It] is a call to unselfish heights.
If we are to share the joy of the Lord, we must be willing to share that
out of which sprang His joy. We must rejoice if we can bear away some
sorrow from another heart, some burden from another life. We must
learn to rejoice, as we never yet have learned to rejoice, in the salvation
of the lost. We read that there:

“is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that
repenteth.” Luke 15:10

Then we must turn our thoughts more towards the future, towards
the heavenly rest, the heavenly activities and the eternal joys which
are there. I repeat it is a trumpet call. It costs something to have
the joy of the Lord. Salvation, with its joy, is a free gift, but the joy
of the Lord is to be had only by entering into fellowship with the Lord
in His path; to be, in the measure of our capacity, Christs in the world;
to get with Him into the joy of suffering; the joy of the great sweet will
of God; the expectation of the things to come.

Is there not a perpetual crusade being preached from the blessed Word,
calling us up out of the petty things in which our lives are being
frittered away; a crusade which calls us to go out upon Christ’s own
great emprise of salvation into the uttermost parts of the earth?

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and
your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” John 16:22


“See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern
shewed to thee in the mount.” Hebrews 8:5

“Moses was invited up into the presence of God and into the vision
of the heavenly things in order that he might reproduce in type
the things which he had seen….that Moses was commissioned to
build [the tabernacle] something on earth that should be exactly like something
in heaven.

In Him [Jesus Christ] there is nothing lacking, nothing in excess.
He could be supremely gentle, patient, and sympathetic. So
these lives of ours will be heavenly in proportion as cost has gone
into them…First the unspeakable, the holy, the immeasurable gift
and cost of our redemption. The costliest gift that heaven had
was given for us, and we shall never come to the acme of Christian
character and life without sacrifice–the best and costliest we
have to give. It costs the renunciation of the lesser that we may
have the greater, that we may grasp the choicest things and build
them into character.

The great temptation is to make religion a matter of externalities alone;
but to be rather than to do, is the central thought of God with regard to
the character of His people; to be beautiful within.

There is the danger of hypocrisy, the danger that we shall seem to be
more devoted, more consecrated, more engaged with the things of God
than we really are; and if I read aright the mind of Christ, there is nothing
for which He feels such an aversion as for hypocrisy. And the essence of
hypocrisy is trying to seem to be a little sweeter, a little better, a little more
devoted than we really are.

You and I are not very important individuals; we are called to build the
tabernacle of character in the lowly walks of life, –we are not filling
very exalted stations. We are likely to be called upon to build just
along some dusty highway, where the great mass of men must walk
and suffer and serve, than to build it upon some heaven-kissed peak
where the whole world shall see it.

What does it matter, after all, for a few brief years, where we are or
what work we are engaged in, if only it be we are like Christ as we move
among men.

“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a
greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands.” Hebrews 9:11

The danger is that we shall build less of gold, and fine linen, and purple
and scarlet and blue…that we shall forget, in the little things, to make life
and character according to the pattern that was shown to us by Christ.”

(“The Heavenly Pattern”, sermon by C.I. Scofield)