Joy, three little letters that is something our culture seems to seek, but few find. Yet joy is at the heart of the gospel message and joy is throughout the Scriptures.
Long before Christ was born, Nehemiah was sent to rebuild the walls and city of Jerusalem, when the lost books of the law of God were rediscovered. As Ezra the priest read the word of God, the people began to weep and cry. Their hearts were broken for they forgot that God had given them his word, and they had not been faithful to his word. But Nehemiah sees this as a time of joy not a time to mourn.
Nehemiah 8:10, (Nehemiah said) ..."Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
It's the Lord's joy because they have the law of God, now they can enjoy the blessings that God has given. Nehemiah was ushering in a move of the Spirit of God that would carry Israel back to the Lord. And although it began with weeping (repentance) as it should, it ends with joy and celebration.
Hundreds of years later an angel appeared to Shepherds with another proclamation of joy.
Luke 2:10, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."
Good news, of great joy, the savior has been born. So Jesus entered this world with joy, he, like Nehemiah, would usher in a movement of the Holy Spirit and bring real joy to the people. Jesus, unlike Nehemiah, brings salvation with His life, death and resurrection. Still, like Nehemiah, Christ's real ministry to the individual begins with weeping, (repentance) but soon turns to joy.
This past week we celebrated Easter, with that remembrance of the Resurrection of Christ - although His death brought weeping, His resurrection brought joy.
Matthew 28:8, "So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples."
Jesus appeared to the women who went to his tomb, and they were filled with joy.
So what about this joy stuff? The Bible speaks of joy over 300 times, and it's almost always connected to your relationship to God. There's joy for those who's sins are forgiven, there's joy for those who love the Lord, love His word and joy in the Holy Spirit. In an age when folks are looking for happiness, the Bible tells us there is something deeper, joy that comes from your connection to God.
With springtime our thoughts are of new life and this is a great time to examine the evidence of new life in Christ and find the joy that brings strength to those who believe. If God has been revealing himself to you; Commit your life to Christ, go to your local church, read your Bible, and you too will discover God's joy.