How does Jesus bring joy to the world?

Jesus brings joy to the world. After He was born, an angel appeared to a group of shepherds near Bethlehem and proclaimed, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10–11). How does Jesus bring joy to the world?

God created us to be in relationship with Him. When sin entered the world we were separated from our Creator, leaving a void in our souls. Since that day every human being has searched for something to fill the space that only God can. God promised a Savior who would restore human relationship with Himself even as He described to Adam and Eve the devastating consequences of their sin (Genesis 3). Later God called Abraham out of his country and promised to him a land and numerous descendants. Most importantly, the Savior of the world would come from Abraham's line (Genesis 12:1–3). Abraham's people became known as the Israelites. Through Moses, God gave the Israelites various laws about how to worship Him and how to be in relationship with Him. These were a foreshadowing of the full atonement He would provide in Jesus Christ.

Although God was present with the Israelites, even physically manifesting His presence in the tabernacle in the Israelites' camp, a huge veil separated the people from His presence. Later when Solomon built the temple, a veil still separated the people from God's presence. Only the high priest could enter through the veil into the innermost room, the Holy of Holies, and that only once a year on the Day of Atonement. The people continually had to sacrifice animals to atone for their sins and time and again they fell into their sinful habits. Eventually God fell silent.

When Jesus was born, the Jewish people had not heard from God in 400 years. They patiently awaited the promised Messiah who would deliver them from their enemies. Those who recognized Jesus as the Messiah were overcome with joy. Mary praised God for the child conceived in her of His Spirit, recognizing her need for salvation and God's provision through Jesus Christ, whom she was blessed to bear (Luke 1:46–55). After seeing the infant Jesus when He was brought to the temple to be presented to the Lord in accordance with the Mosaic law, Simeon was able to die in peace knowing God had brought salvation to the world (Luke 2:22–35). During the same visit the prophetess Anna began to prophesy about Jesus to all who were in the temple (Luke 2:36–38). Jesus brought joy. This joy was not only for Mary, Simeon, and Anna, but for the world. Jesus did not come to fight flesh and blood, but to rescue them, and all who would believe in Him, from the spiritual death of sin (John 3:16–18). This is joy to the world!

On a very practical level Jesus brought joy to the people He interacted with during His short life on earth. During His three years of public ministry He healed people everywhere He went. Jesus helped the blind see and the lame walk. He cleansed people of disease and resurrected some from the dead. He cast out demons and loved the outcasts of society (Matthew 15:29–31). In one such instance Jesus healed ten lepers who asked Him to have mercy on them. Leprosy is a contagious and degenerative disease; therefore, lepers had to leave their families and live outside of society, slowly wasting away. Imagine what incredible joy these lepers must have experienced being completely healed of their disease. One of the ten truly understood the great thing that had been done for him and praised God, falling at Jesus' feet and giving Him thanks (Luke 17:11–19). He indeed experienced the joy of the Lord. Jesus brought joy to the world in which He lived.

Jesus is the joy of the world. Peter explains, "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:8–9). When He died on the cross the veil in the temple was torn in two. The sin that had separated people from God had been overcome. Anyone who asks Jesus for forgiveness is cleansed of their sins. The gaping hole in their being is filled with the Holy Spirit and they are reconnected with God. They receive the gift of eternal salvation and heaven rejoices as another soul is saved (John 3:16–18; Luke 15:7). The good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, and the reality of that salvation, is great joy to the world.

We find joy in knowing Jesus and following His commands in this life (John 15:1–11; Philippians 2:12–13). Jesus also brings us joy in the hope of eternity with Him. During the Passover feast with His disciples Jesus promised to prepare a place for them in heaven and to return and bring them with Him (John 14:2–3). When we are in Jesus Christ, we can be joyful in the midst of the suffering of this world knowing that Jesus has already conquered death and will one day return again to bring us into His kingdom (James 1:2&4; 1 Peter 1:3–9; Philippians 4; John 16:33). Joy, unlike happiness, is not dependent on our circumstances. Rather it is the evidence of a soul reunited with its Creator and confident in the promise that one day the suffering will cease. For just as Jesus endured the cross with His eyes set on the joy ahead of Him, so we can endure the hardships of this world because of the joy that lives inside of us (Hebrews 12:2). "For the joy of the LORD is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).

Jesus has brought joy to the world. As His followers we, too, can bring joy to the world by sharing the good news of salvation in Christ and by living in faithful and confident obedience to Him, knowing that the One in whom we have placed our hope is surely faithful (Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 1:11–14; 2 Timothy 2:11–13; Hebrews 13:8).

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