Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” John 8:56
Be very sorry for yourself if you keep trotting out your acquisitions and triumphs, flexing your right “things” muscle, all the while squeezing the traffic off of joy’s highways. When Yeshua told his contemporaries that their most celebrated ancestor had an occasion to exult over the Christ Event, he created a sharp contrast between their murderous conspiracies to silence and murder him and Abraham’s preview and exultation. When Abe exulted he had no land and innumerable children were yet millennia away.
Abraham’s vision sets the tone for all believers to experience contentment with divine promises and to be comfortable with the paradox of not seeing and not possessing the promised thing(s). Land and children were Abraham’s treasures, both promised by God, yet he was 90 years old when his promised child was born, and his children (not yet countless) did not possess the promised land until 400 years after Abraham died. This puts his exultation in raw faith space.
Faith and sight are related even though we have adopted a quick filter for accessing faith matter. 2 Corinthians 5:7 – for we walk by faith, not by sight – helps us determine when a matter truly belongs to faith or performance. However faith needs to have something to motivate the walking without sight. That thing we hope for can be like Noah’s vision of flood and ark (Heb.11:7), or Sarah’s desire and expectation for children (vs. 11), or like the escape from the destroying angel (vs 28). When it comes to life and inheritance, we are all separated from the final object of our faith, and need to hope.
Abraham’s exultation was obviously about something more distant from his reality than children and land. It was Messiah’s day. It is not mere sloganeering nor sentimental energy to call Abe “Dad”. The entire Gentile world is God’s target when our Lord and his followers separate Jew from Gentile in order to establish a new person (the new man) in the image of God, and discard the things unrelated to lifegiving faith.
and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. Rom 4:12
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad
Rejoice (CHAIro) appears in 68 verses while exult (agalliAo) appears in 11 verses. Rejoice and exult are not synonyms. They appear together too, four times, and with precision, with focus on (a) the persecution of those who follow Christ, (b) those convicted by the preview of, (c) the glory and (d) the consummation of the Christ Event.
- Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matt 5:12
- Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. John 8:56
- But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1Pet 4:13
- Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. Rev 19:7
Peter helps us see the difference between joy and exultation. If a smile is rejoicing, then a belly-laugh is exultation.
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1Pet 4:13
- Rejoice for being co-sufferer with Christ
- ye may exult when glory dawns
From smile to belly-laugh
It is indeed humbling to have this exultation experience subjected to someone or something other than Christ. No prophet, priest, or king can deliver the catalyst for the kind of exultation that Yeshua says Abraham had. At some time our smile, our joy, will burst into a belly-laugh at the very promise of life, into an expression too intense for words. Like Abraham, not having the land or children as promised, we have access to exceeding joy; exultation. Having eternal life we are glad, but the promise of immortality, assured by the gift of Holy Spirit to us, is reason to exult. The end becomes real only because of faith and hope. Even now, having been adopted, we do not yet have what God’s sons will eventually possess. Yet, it is full or glory, needing nothing added.
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice (exult, agalliAio) with joy (chara) unspeakable and full of glory: 1Pet 1:8