Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! — 1 John 1:4, The Message, Eugene Peterson

I have often wondered what the Apostle John may have been thinking about as he sat on the beach together with the other disciples eating breakfast with the risen Jesus, knowing that it could be the last time before the Lord’s departure and promised return (John 21:9-14). Was he recalling when Jesus picked him out of the crowd and first gave him and his brother their nick names, Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17)?

Or maybe it was the first time when he and his fishing partners were told to readjust their nets for a greater catch. Or was he reminded of his shame, when in panic he fled with the others in the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:50)? And how could he ever forget the horror of His death at the hands of the Romans and the ecstatic joy when it was found that the tomb was empty!

Had all doubt washed away like the tide, when he touched the Lord’s face, looked into His eyes, felt the strength of His hugs, and listened once again to His familiar voice as He taught them as before—and when he knew without a doubt he had been forgiven?

Did John’s intuition tell him that he would write about Jesus someday? Yes, it was the Lord. It was Jesus. He was just as alive as they were. They laughed and cried and prayed together that day but they all knew inside that He would be leaving them once again—but not alone. He promised to send another (allos) Who was like Him, to be their Guide, Comforter, and Witness (John 14:15-16, 15:12-16).

The joy that John speaks about is more than a series of happy events. It is a result of the knowledge that Jesus Christ loves us so much that He gave His life for us. The word for “joy” in the original language of the New Testament is chara, and the root for the word charis, which means “grace” or “unmerited favor.” It is one of the greatest words in the Bible.

True joy comes from the knowledge that we can always go to the “throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive grace and mercy to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16). He will never “leave us or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus modeled that grace like no other. Joy is a state of complete satisfaction in mind, heart, emotions, and desires and is not dependent upon our circumstances and things that happen to us. It is the knowledge that nothing can separate us from God and His love (Romans 8:38-39). — Maranatha!

“God is good all the time. All the time God is good!”

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