Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Love's deep joy comes from love's self-sacrifice.  When I truly love someone, I experience joy in sacrificing myself for that one.  The principle is counter intuitive to our human expectations.  Jesus demonstrated the principle on the cross and taught it to us in John 14:28.

"You heard that I said to you, 'I go away and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."

The disciples were saddened by their coming loss. Their myopic self interest interfered with Christ's eternal interests making their sadness selfish.  The conditional sentence is a second class condition where the condition is assumed to be unfulfilled or contrary to fact (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1012). The protasis is "if you loved Me" (ει ηγαπατε με). The imperfect tense indicates they were not loving Him on an ongoing basis.  Jesus does not doubt that they have loved Him, but their sadness at His going proves they were not continuing to love Him. If they had kept on loving Him, they would have experienced joy even in His departure (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1015).

The apodasis - "you would have rejoiced" at My going - (εχαρητε αν) - acknowledges the reality of their joylessness. The verb means to experience gladness.  They were "losing" Jesus, and their sense of loss led to sadness because they could not see beyond their self interest.  Their sadness was rooted in their limited self interest.  They could not see that letting Jesus go would lead to greater joy. Some suggest that Jesus was demonstrating a playfully tender appeal for their love (Bernard, John, 2:555). I see it more as a wistful appeal. Jesus wished they could love Him so much they would rejoice in His departure because what He was doing for them was so much better than they could possibly guess.

In reality, our true self interest lies in seeking Christ's greater interests where we experience real joy. Jesus longs for us to love Him so deeply that we can rejoice in Him even in our losses. The deepest love rejoices in the greatest loss by looking beyond our loss to see His love.  The depth of my love for Him is measured by the joy I feel in His love even in my loss.

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