Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No.21 Joy To The ______???
One of my favorite Christmas Carols (Hymns and songs pertaining to Christmas) is “Joy To The World” (written by Isaac Watts, a prolific hymn writer who wrote the Carol based on Psalm 98, 96:11-12, and Genesis 3:17-18). Yet I often wonder why so many are less than ‘joyful’, even those who claim to know Jesus and celebrate His birth? Isaac Watts understood that the “joy” must come from knowing Jesus and His Father, God Almighty, and having the assurance that God has provided a way for the salvation of mankind from our sin! Salvation was, is and ever shall be God’s idea; it is God’s perfect provision and God’s desire for all men, women, boys and girls. And that, my friends, is cause for ‘joy’! God’s wants all men to come to Him through His Son, to be born again of the “Spirit of God” and know His love, forgiveness, and receive eternal life through the blood of Jesus. That truly is the “Joy To The World”!
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise,
as some men count slackness;
but is longsuffering to us-ward,
not willing that any should perish,
but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
What joy it ought to stir in our hearts to know and remember that God loves us—loved us first, in fact.
“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
God loves us and has provided a way for us to know Him and have new life in Jesus Christ, His Son! But without HIM there is no joy! So I’d simply like to spend a few minutes today considering Jesus and what our salvation cost HIM! After all, it’s all about Jesus, right? Or have you and I become so busy that we are consumed with the hustle and bustle that often overtakes the celebration of Jesus, and we fall into the trap of ‘busy-ness’ rather than the “business” of spreading the Good News—that “Joy To The World” is what Jesus came to accomplish!!! And it cost Him His life on the cross of Calvary!!! But praise God He not only died for our sin, but He arose to grant to all who will believe in HIM, forgiveness of sin and eternal victory over sin, death and hell!!! And that, my dear friends, is certainly reason enough to share this “Joy To The World” at every opportunity!
The author of the book of Hebrews shares great insight into the reasons for Jesus’ coming—what we celebrate at Christmas time—the incarnation of God into human flesh and blood. But why? Because only a perfect sacrifice from a perfect man could be the perfect payment for SIN! And sin, my friends, is the issue, even as the angel told Joseph when he was concerned about Mary being pregnant with a child that he knew wasn’t his.
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying,
Joseph, thou son of David,
fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:
for that which is conceived in her
is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call his name JESUS:
for he shall save his people
from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child,
and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which being interpreted is,
God with us.” Matthew 1:19-23
God revealed to Joseph that the child Mary was carrying was the promised Messiah—that he would “save his people from their sins”, and the only reason that He could do that was because He was, is and ever shall be “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us”! Jesus was the promised One, the One who would save us from our sins—and only God in the flesh could do that—“Emmanuel…. God with us”! Amen and Amen! I’m so glad that God loved me enough to lay aside the glory of heaven, come and dwell in a woman’s womb for nine months, experience human birth, spend years growing in a body of flesh—He who was, is and ever shall be, GOD! All for you and me! That’s what we see in Hebrews chapter 2, let’s look.
“Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death,
crowned with glory and honour;
that he by the grace of God
should taste death
for every man.
10 For it became him,
for whom are all things,
and by whom are all things,
in bringing many sons unto glory,
to make the captain of their salvation perfect
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
14 Forasmuch then as the children
are partakers of flesh and blood,
he also himself likewise
took part of the same;
that through death
he might destroy him
that had the power of death,
that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them
who through fear of death
were all their lifetime
subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels;
but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him
to be made like unto his brethren,
that he might be a merciful
and faithful high priest
in things pertaining to God,
to make reconciliation
for the sins of the people.
18 For in that he himself hath suffered
he is able to succour them
that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:8-18
Do you realize that Jesus birth is the epitome of God’s love—giving His Son, the God-Man to live life in a body of flesh that He could not only pay for our sin, but comfort and restore us when we are tempted and fail!!! Even more than that, He can provide us the strength and courage to resist temptation and overcome sin day by day, when we come to His throne for help!
“For we have not an high priest
which cannot be touched
with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted
like as we are,
yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly
unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help
in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
That, my friend is the reason that we can truly sing “Joy To The World”—and you and I are part of the ‘world’ that Jesus came to save. He was born KING, is coming again—as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords–and He won’t come again to a manger, but to a throne. But praise God He did come as the suffering servant to pay for my sin and yours! He is worthy of our worship. Who or what are you worshipping this Christmas season? Does Jesus or the hustle and bustle of the world hold your heart? The “wise men” showed us what we ought to do.
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying,
Where is he
that is born King of the Jews?
for we have seen his star
in the east,
and are come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2
They saw a star and came to worship the newborn KING. What are we worshipping today, every day—Jesus or something much less worthy? He is the Savior, yes; but He is Savior because HE IS GOD!!!
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and
hath translated us into the kingdom
of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption
through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created,
that are in heaven,
and that are in earth,
visible and invisible,
whether they be thrones,
all things were created by him,
and for him:
17 And he is before all things,
and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body,
who is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead;
that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:12-17
Jesus is the creator of the universe! He IS God, God who came to save us, giving His life for ours—for all who will believe and come to Him as the Only Lamb of God, who “takes away the sin of the world”!
So my question for you today is, “Do you have the “Joy” that Jesus gives to those who come to HIM? Or are you painting on a face for the world, trying to cover a broken and empty life inside?” Jesus came that you might have real life, abundant life; won’t you come to Him today? What better time to come to the Savior than at a time when we celebrate His birth, His incarnation (never His coming into existence, but His coming down from heaven to be our Redeemer)! If you know Him, won’t you join me in re-committing to being a reflection of that “Joy To The World” that Isaac Watts wrote about so long ago—HE truly is the Only hope of joy for this lost and dying world, and it’s our job to spread the “Good News”, that Jesus Christ has come to save sinners, “of whom I am chief” (which I say along with Paul!)! Blessing on your week, friends—and remember Jesus came because HE loves YOU!!!
“I am the door:
by me if any man enter in,
he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out,
and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not,
but for to steal,
and to kill,
and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.
11 I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd giveth his life
for the sheep.” John 10:9-11
He did it all for you and me, and that IS cause to celebrate!! Merry Christmas!!!