3. The Joy of Hope.
The third and completing element in the joy of Jesus was that of Hope. As to Jesus God was that present reality which embraces and transcends all else, and the will of God the Infinite Good, so the one glorious vision the future held for Him was the Kingdom of God. Already He beheld Satan hurled from his throne. God would arise ; righteousness, peace, and joy would triumph. He foresaw all difficulties, discounted all disappointments ; but, despite all obstacles, God's fatherly rule would find its way into men's hearts. Not even in the darkest hour of His and the world's history, when injustice, hypocrisy, and hate were at the height of their power, did He doubt that " clouds would break," or fear that though " right were worsted, wrong would triumph." He Himself was the seed of the Kingdom, that must fall into the ground and die. His life was the price of victory, the ransom for many. For this joy set before Him, He endured the Cross.
And this joy of hope should fill our lives too. We cannot hope too greatly if our hope is based upon God, upon God's character and purpose. Nothing can be too good to be true ; the only possibility is that what we think good, and very good, may not be good enough for God. We cannot take too bright a view of the future, our own future, our country's future, the Church's and the world's future, if in the centre of that view we set Jesus Christ, crucified, risen, and enthroned.
Such was the joy of our Master. It may be ours in ever-growing measure ; and it will, if we have but the courage to venture our selves upon His God and our God, to sur render ourselves loyally to live for God's ends, and still to trust in Him when we can not see, and hope in Him when all seems doubtful. Lift up your hearts. Go into the New Year 1 without fear. Go not seeking joy, but with a fresh resolve to live for the highest ; and the joy of Jesus will be more and more fulfilled in you. For joy is given never to them that seek joy, but always to them that seek first the Kingdom of God.
1 This discourse was delivered on the first Sunday of the year.