The job ’n’ joy of being Jesus’ disciples 

The JOY…

Jesus’ disciples were a joy to him. He “loved them all during his ministry, and now he loved them to the very end,” John 13:1. He wanted his disciples to know it too, because “As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” so they had to know his love first, right? 

So he made sure they understood it, and how deep his love was, as in John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” That’s quite something, because what greater love could there be in the entire universe than the love the Father has for his Son? So, take that, my dear disciples, I love you that much. 

And then he says in verse 13, that “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” which sounds lovely, but then he immediately adds in verse 14, “YOU are my friends.” Imagine walking along with Jesus, then, and he puts his arm round your shoulder and he says, “I’d give my life up for you, you know, because you are my friend.” 

And then he explains in verse 15 what he meant by friend too: “I have called you friends; for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” And isn’t that the classic sign of true friendship, that friends hide nothing from each other? Imagine sitting with Jesus, then, and he says, “Whatever you want to know, go on, ask, and I’ll tell all. And I mean all, because everything the Father passed on to me, I happily pass on to you.” And the disciples experienced Jesus doing that, because they admitted in John 16:30 that he’d answered all they wanted to know. 

To Jesus, then, his disciples were a joy, which he expressed in Luke 10:21, when “full of joy through the Holy Spirit he said, ‘I thank you, Father, for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike’” – to the little guys. And what a pleasure it was to Jesus to share all he knew with these little guys, who became his closest friends and companions. 

Us being his disciples, therefore, is joy to him. It was a joy choosing us (John 15:16), a joy that he has us as his friends and companions on the Earth right now, a joy sharing all that he knows with us, and a joy that we latch on to him as the provider of all that we need (John 14:13-14). 

It is a joy to him to have us as his disciples, but especially because “my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete,” John 15:11. So it’s not only a joy to him that we are his disciples, it’s a joy to us too. 

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