It’s exciting to find out that your favorite book is going to be made into a movie. Finally, now everyone will know why you love it so much. But then the dread sets in. What if they don’t do it justice? What if they use an actor who’s nothing like the way you imagine the lead character? There are many reasons for casting choices, but no one thinks to ask you!
When it comes to the historical portrayal of Jesus something is glaringly missing. He is rarely depicted as joyful, even though scripture records Jesus as the most joyful person to have ever lived. “You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else” (Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9 NLT). From the moment he was born he brought joy to the world (Luke 2:10) and it didn’t stop there.
Depending on your ethnic heritage, your celebration skills may range. Traditionally, the cultural celebrations from around the globe vary, but many are elaborate, extreme even. In Jesus’ day it was no exception, and his people knew how to throw a party.
It’s an odd thing, one would think that the first public miracle Jesus would perform would be a dramatic healing or another parting of the waters – ya know, something of biblical proportions. But just like his birth brought joy to the world, Jesus’ first miracle brought joy to the party. It went something like this –
It wasn’t over. They still had days left. But to the horror of the hosts, the wine was about to run out. It was understood that when the wine ran out the party was over, and in this case, shame would be heaped on the host family. Pulling her son aside Mary whispers, “Jesus, they have no more wine…” Did she know? Had he done it before? What was the wine supply like in their home? He replied, “It’s not really our business, mom. And it’s not my time yet.” Mary, a faith-filled woman and mom, grabs the nearest servant, “Just do what he tells you to do.” She knew her son—she believed in him. After a few simple instructions to the help, what could have been a disaster became a new infusion of joy. The wine was not only flowing and in no danger of running out, it was the best they’d ever tasted! You can just about feel the pride and love in Mary’s heart and hear the thoughts in her head, “That’s my son.”
Contrary to history’s portrayal, Jesus was full of life and joy. The fact that he chose to display his power and authority to enhance a party shows that he was, and is, serious about joy. Biblically, wine is a symbol of joy and happiness. To us, it seems almost insignificant that he turned water into wine. We are more intrigued with his work healing the sick and raising the dead. But this act of love and kindness isn’t any different! Why do we tend to put a hierarchy on some miracles and not others? The breakthrough of joy and peace is just as life-giving and powerful as restoring health to a sick person or the provision of something when there was nothing. We have come into agreement with the lie that the forgiveness of murder and corruption is bigger than the forgiveness of gossip and laziness. The concept is the same. The power of love is the same across the board and we can’t live without it. We are desperate for a touch from God. The restoration of our joy is just as important to the Lord as anything else. We place the restriction and hierarchy on the Lord and it’s time we recognize and receive all that He has for us. The truth is Jesus did do a miracle of biblical proportions on that day. He revealed his plan to bring joy and peace to the world forever.
Jesus walked in two realities. He simultaneously lived on this earth but existed in the Kingdom of God. In fact, he came to bring that Kingdom to earth. Again and again he would say, “It’s here!” The Kingdom of heaven is here now because Jesus is with us here and now. That’s why Jesus would tell stories about what the kingdom of God is like, so we could begin to understand and live its freedom and power. He wanted his disciples (and us) to boldly live as children of God—understanding what that means for us. Jesus, the son of God, lived with confidence in his Father. He walked with authority because he knew who his Father was. Jesus declared that everything he said or did was out of a passionate and powerful relationship with his Father. They were one. And because of Jesus, we can be one too!
But why was Jesus a man of such great joy? Because of the intimacy he had with his Father. He knew total satisfaction and fulfillment of perfect love. He never sinned because he never lacked anything. He had access to everything he needed because of his complete faith in his Father to provide it for him. Jesus never worried about lack—he didn’t experience it! What looked to others like lack was only an opportunity for provision and abundance. The Son of God knew such pure love and fullness of joy that there was never a need to strive or seek. He was the perfect example of what it looked like to live a life connected and reliant on the Father.
Psalm 16:11 says, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (NKJV). Jesus said of himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He led the way. He lived his life as a perfect example. He knew the fullness of joy because he was in perfect unity with the Father. Do you want to know what is found in the presence of God? It says so right there, the fullness of joy and great pleasures! I want that, don’t you? Jesus is a Joy Bringer and wants you to receive it and bring that joy everywhere you go.
*Taken from The Joy Bringer Challenge by Season Bowers
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