Saturday, April 7, 2007

Divine Joy

Jesus - “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. “ (Heb. 12:2)

When I try to imagine that first Easter day it is easy to understand the joy that would have filled the hearts of those who loved Jesus.

I think of the women who walked with heavy hearts that early morning on their way to Jesus’ tomb bringing embalming spices, remembering the horror of the last days. I’m sure there were few words spoken between them, words had been exhausted.
Then they come to the tomb, shocked to see the stone rolled away , shock turns to puzzlement, and puzzlement to amazement when they see the angels and hear their despair-shattering message that Jesus is not dead, but alive!!
Can you imagine the pounding of their joy filled hearts as they run to find the rest of the disciples to tell their unbelievably good news?
I’m sure they ran as they had not run since they were children, the spices they had so carefully selected and carried to the tomb fallen and scattered on the ground, forgotten.

How quickly the news must have spread, some believing, some afraid to believe, others skeptical.

I think of Peter and John who tried to outrun each other on the way to the tomb hoping against hope that the women told them the truth and how their hearts exploded with joy - their hope confirmed when they see the empty linen clothes.
I think of Mary weeping in the garden and how her tears turned into joy when she recognized Jesus' voice speaking to her.
I think of the Emmaus brothers’ rush of joy when they recognize the One who is breaking bread with them.
I think of the disciples' fear exploding into joy when Jesus is suddenly standing in the room with them.

The world had changed over night ! The streets would have been abuzz with emotion.
The excitement and joy passing from one to another, “Have you heard?” “Can you believe it?” I’m sure nothing was ‘normal’ that day ... the daily chores were forgotten, work benches were left unattended, I wonder if they even remembered to eat!
Jesus , the Son of God who had walked among them as a Man, whom they had touched, spoken with, followed and listened to - had defied death and the tomb.
How does a human mind grasp the magnitude of what had just happened – what had been prophesied for thousands of years had become reality – right before their eyes!
The prophecies were fulfilled.

While we identify with the joy in the city of Jerusalem that first resurrection day, there is One whom we forget to consider – have you ever thought of the joy of Jesus?
If we consider the depth of his agony in the garden, and recognize that what chained him to the horrendous events culminating in his death was “the joy set before Him”, how great was this promise of divine joy ?
How do we wrap our limited mental capacity around such a concept -- That on that Easter morning Jesus’ joy was the greatest of all.

When Jesus declared “It is finished!!” was it His burst of divine JOY that grasped hold of the veil in the temple and tore it, top to bottom? The 6” thick veil before the Holy of Holies that symbolically separated you and me from God’s presence?
Did He shout with joy “Behold I and the children which God hath given me!” ? (Heb.2:13)
How great was His joy when knew His work was accomplished, His purpose fulfilled - he could now “bring many sons unto glory”. (Heb. 2:10)
Did you ever consider the joy that filled His heart when He took you and me by the hand to lead us to the Father for the first time?

Once again this Sunday morning all across the world people will gather and the words will resound….

“He is risen!” and the joyous response - “He is risen indeed!!”

Is your response personal? Does joy rise up your heart when you remember what His resurrection means for you?

"And if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain,….if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable – but now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept!”
(I Cor. 15:17,19,20)


Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

He IS Risen! Best three words in the universe. Have a lovely Resurrection Sunday.

Demara said...

That was so beautifully written Julie! To just imagine the veil being torn and thinking of the joy Jesus felt...WOW! cool.


I think you and I and everyone that comes to know him is that JOY too that was set before Him, hey? You bring a smile to God's face everyday Julie! I'm sure of it!!! Haha

Carolanne said...

Yesterday, my son came to me and said, "Christ is risen" and I replied, "He is risen, indeed." He thought it was so cool that if he said "Christ is risen", others would respond with "He is risen, indeed." It is so wonderful that we can respond from our hearts and say those words!

On another note Julie, I have nominated you for a Thinking Blogger Award. I hope you don't mind but I think you deserve it. :)