Knowing the Unending Joy of Following Jesus
“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’.” Lk. 2:10-11 (NKJV)
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Jn. 15:11 (NKJV)
Wow! That first Christmas was filled with heavenly drama! An angel of the Lord appearing out of the darkness of the night sky to bring prophetic “good news” to “unnamed” shepherds who were watching over their flock by night in the Judean country side! Wow! What a scene! As the angel spoke, he asked the shepherds not to be afraid, for God had sent them “good tidings of great joy”, which would soon be published to all the world. “For there is born to you in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”. After confirming all that the angel had told them, the shepherds became evangelist for the work of God! As they went back to watching over their sheep, they did so by “glorifying and praising God for the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them”. (Lk. 2:20) Their hearts, minds and spirits were filled with joy as they reflected upon their encounters with the heavenly host and seeing the prophetic word of God fulfilled before their faces! Praise be unto God!
We have tried repeatedly to recapture the joy that the shepherds experienced on that first Christmas in our Christmas songs of today. We lift our voices heaven’s way as we sing, “Joy to The World”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, “Hark! The Herald Angels” and many more! The joy that the shepherds felt on that first Christmas is repeated time and time again as another soul comes to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. Such joy will continue to be made real in the lives of Believers until Christ comes again for His Church! Praise be unto God for His love that He has made real to the world through Jesus Christ!
The Greek word that is often used in reference to the word “joy” is “chara”. Chara does mean to be excited; to be happy; and/or to be excited about things or events. Chara also means, to know and to trust the source or the foundation of your joy. This is the “kind of joy” that Jesus invites us to as we continuously follow Him and live as His disciples in this world. In John 15 on the night before Jesus was to be crucified, He talked to His disciples about the matter of “knowing or experiencing” joy as they followed Him. Jesus said to His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (Jn. 15:11) Jesus wanted His disciples to know that regardless of the trials of life and faith that they shall encounter as they follow Him, He would continuously make real His power and presence their lives. Jesus wanted His disciples to know that He was the “Sure Foundation” of God’s word and God’s power. And to that end, He would be their “Unending Source of Joy” in every situation of life and faith that they shall encounter!
Jesus Christ is still inviting His disciples to experience “unending joy” as we follow Him! He is still inviting His disciples to stay connected to Him as we seek to live into God’s word, way and will in this world. Jesus is still saying to His disciples today, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full”. Jesus Christ says that He is “The Unending Source of Joy” for all who stay connected to Him! Amen.
Prayer: Almighty God, help us to grow up in our faith in You as we seek to walk according to Your word, way and will made real through Jesus Christ. Help us to dare to live with unswerving confidence in You as we live into our faith in Jesus Christ, “The Sovereign Source of Our Unending Joy”. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Rev. Larron D. Jackson, D Min
Ministry and Mission Coach