Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world to the Father…
I. HAPPINESS IS NOT ONLY A PRIVILEGE BUT A DUTY, because —
1. It adorns religion. Christians are a book which everyone reads, and a happy face is a beautiful illustration in that book which is sure to attract the reader.
2. A happy mind is the cradle of all usefulness. Everyone does everything best when he is happy.
3. We are to be like God, and our God is a happy God.
4. We are rehearsing our eternity, and that is a happy heaven.
5. An unhappy man wrongs the Father, — for what father is not grieved if his child is not happy? He wrongs the Son — for what has not the Son done to make us happy? He wrongs the Holy Ghost, the "Spirit of joy?" So unhappiness is not so much a weakness to be pitied as a sin to be condemned and overcome?
II. WHAT, THEN, IS THE SECRET OF A HAPPY LIFE? To turn knowledge into practice, first to "know" and then to "do." But then is not happiness the cause of a good life? Yes, the two act and re-act forever. I believe that Christ died for me, that my debt is paid, and I free. In that belief all happiness begins before I do a single work, and makes me do it? But then how is this consistent with our Lord's words, "Know" what? "Do" what? I know that Christ has borne my punishment, and that I am saved. What I am to do with that knowledge is to turn it into faith. I have the knowledge of salvation through faith, and my believing it is the doing.
1. I come, then, to the first principle of a happy life, that sense of freedom which springs from a sense of pardon. A man may be called a happy man; he may be a merry man; but how can he be really happy with unforgiven sins, with dark retrospects, and awful visions of the future scaring him.
2. What Christ appears to have had specially in His mind here — love and humility. It is pride which stands in the way of most persons' happiness. Personal pride — of beauty, or intellect, never getting what they expect from it, and therefore always mortified; pride of wealth and grandeur; spiritual pride. The man who has now chosen the lower ground will —
(1) Always have Jesus at his side. He carries with him "the Light of Life." Therefore he walks in the sunshine.
(2) Have a secret communion going on with God.
(3) And walking with frequent converse with Him, we gradually take something of the mind of God, our judgment unites itself to God's judgment — our will to God's will — without which there never can be a happy life. Until that, all life is a conflict between man and God.
(4) And so we arrive at a strange independence of this present world. We may have and enjoy human friendships; we are independent of them. And the trials and sorrows prove only evidences that we are the children of God; that our education is for home.
(5) And every true child of God has some work which he is doing for Him. And work for God is happiness.
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
WEB: Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.