Before being taken to be killed, Jesus prayed for his disciples, aloud in front of them. He prayed, asking that God would be glorified, and that he also would be glorified. He prayed, confirming that his disciples know and believe the words that the Father had given to Jesus to give to the disciples. He also prayed that his disciples would be protected from the evil one. He even said that his disciples were not of the world, and that they wouldn’t be taken from the world, but that they would be protected while they are in it.
Jesus also prayed that they would be sanctified by the truth, that they would live out in holiness what they had learned from Jesus.
Jesus also prayed for those that would hear the same message and experience the same process through his disciples. He wanted additional generations to have the same experience, believing in Christ and following him, even after he had returned to be with the Father in heaven.
But now, let’s get to the Why. Why was Jesus standing there praying in this way? Why was he praying out loud in front of his disciples? He was doing this because he wanted his disciples to have joy.
I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.John 17:13
So often we think that to follow Jesus means that we are to be empty of joy. We are to be solemn and sullen. We think that because it seems like the people of God act this way. Or because our churches are solemn places. Silent except for the voices of the priest or the pastor. Silent except for the songs of the choir. We think of seriousness, of gravity, of solemnity. We certainly don’t think of joy.
And I should mention that joy doesn’t necessarily mean happiness at all times. Jesus himself was preparing to go to die a death of significant agony on the cross. He certainly wasn’t happy about that. In fact, at Gethsemane, he prayed and asked the Father if there was any other way that this could be accomplished. He knew what he had to do, but we can’t necessarily say that he was completely happy about the fact that he had to do it.
But Jesus was full of joy. He was joyful that the Father would be glorified in what he had done and what he was doing. He was joyful that he himself would be glorified by his disciples and by his Father. He was joyful that he had completed the work that he had been given to do by his Father.
Jesus had a deep sense of joy. A deep sense of satisfaction in what God was doing. He was being used to reestablish God’s Kingdom on the earth, and he himself is the King. Jesus was joyful because he had done what God had sent him to do and now the work was complete.
But we see that Jesus was praying aloud for his disciples so that they would experience that same sense of joy. Jesus knew that they also would go through a deep sense of agony as they witnessed him go through the death that he was about to go through. The emotions would run deep. The sadness for his death would be profound. But they will soon understand. They would soon have revelation from the Holy Spirit for what God is doing around them, and for what God is doing through them.
And so Jesus desires a different reality for them. He desires that they would also live lives full of joy. Maybe not always happy, per se, but joyful. He wanted them to be full of joy because they understood what God is doing.
And that is the same joy that God wants for us. He wants us also to live lives full of joy. In the good times and in the difficult times. In the happiness and in the sadness. In all times full of joy because we know that we have life in eternity with our God. Not separate from Him, but with Him forever, and in this we can see what our Father is doing and we are full of joy.