“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.’” (Luke 2:10)
When God became man and Jesus was born, true joy entered a world of sin and sadness. The Magi, who had long anticipated the Savior’s coming, “rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” when they saw the star standing over the young child (Matthew 2:10). This is the first mention of “joy” in the New Testament.
The heavenly host also rejoiced as their angelic captain shared with the shepherds in the field at Bethlehem the “good tidings [that is, ‘the gospel’] of great joy.” The very gospel we are to preach is a gospel of exceeding joy because we have a Savior to preach—Christ the Lord!
Although He was “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3), the Lord Jesus “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). He prepared His disciples for His coming death and their own subsequent sufferings for His name’s sake by conveying to them His own joy. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). He prayed for them to the Father, “that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13). He promised to answer prayers offered to the Father in His name “that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
Thus it is that all who truly believe on Christ can testify with Peter that even though “now [we] do not see Him, yet believing, [we] rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). Even when suffering for Him, Christians know that “when His glory is revealed, [we] may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13), for His Word promises that He will “present [us] faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24).
Adapted from Dr. Morris' article "Joy to the World" in the winter 2009 Days of Praise.
*Dr. Morris was President and Founder of the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on December 21, 2017.