As Jesus moved closer towards the end of his earthly ministry we come across a gloomy, grief-filled group of disciples who seem to be lacking hope! Jesus encourages them by reminding them that an advocate is coming who will turn their grief into joy! In this talk, Gavin unpacks the idea of Joy within our lives. Where do we find our joy? Is it possible to be completely Joyless? How do we stay joyful in difficult circumstances and desperate situations?
'Resurrection is the victory parade as Jesus the risen Champion comes out of his tomb fully alive to the amazement of earth and to the applause of heaven.' (Andrew Wilson). That's the Easter for you! The miraculous reappearances of Jesus after the cross witnessed by hundreds of people have been refuted for centuries. Yet the bottom line is that no one has been successful in explaining it all away as deception or lies. The reality is 'In its favour as living truth there exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true.' (Lord Darling, former Lord Chief Justice of England)
The cross was a painful and gruesome instrument of execution however it became a symbol of hope for Jesus' followers. In John's account of Jesus' death on the cross, he wants to highlight particular things that are taking place; that Jesus is being rejected as a king, that he substitutes in our place and that he is victorious over sin and death. This is the event that all world history turns on and when Jesus cried out, 'It is finished', he was declaring that he had completed the work of salvation that he had come to earth for.
As Jesus is put on trial, we see him pointing to the kingdom that is to come. Soroush helps us to see that the advance of this kingdom is not like a drama that we take our seat to watch, but rather one in which we are drawn into and play our part.
In the final hours before his arrest, Jesus prays for himself, his close friends and for everyone who will come to trust in him. On top of this, the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus continues to pray and intercede for us. By looking at what Jesus prayed, we get an insight into his heart for his people and the plans and purposes he has for them.