This chapter is a meditation on Hebrews 12:2, “For the joy that was set before him . . .”
Building on the thought of Thomas Goodwin, Dane Ortlund writes:
When you come to Christ for mercy and love and help in your anguish and perplexity and sinfulness, you are going with the flow of his own deepest wishes, not against them.
Further, Christ’s joy in forgiving us is in part because of his desire for us:
And he doesn’t just want us to be forgiven. He wants us. How does Jesus speak of his own deepest desires? Like this: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me” (John 17:24).
Amazingly, the Bible teaches we are not at a great distance. Rather, we learn in Ephesians 5 that we are members of Christ’s body!
Jesus Christ is comforted when you draw from the riches of his atoning work, because his own body is getting healed.
As I read this chapter, I appreciated the various analogies that Ortlund used to show us how we do have parallels to Christ’s joy in helping others.
At the same time, Os Guinness has helpfully said that “Contrast is the mother of clarity.” I felt a strong internal dissonance in reading this chapter.
What to do with that experience?
Why, bring it to Jesus! He will find great joy in mending my perception of who he is!
I am now trying another approach.
It goes like this: oh, I see a temptation within myself? Jesus would enjoy discussing that with me! To him I fly! Oh, do I realize how I’ve gone after an idol? Jesus would be delighted for me to unburden my heart to him. Let me speak to him now…
- How do you feel about your sin and troubles?
- Do you think that Jesus finds joy in helping you?