The Greatest Joy or Disturbance in this World

The King of Kings was nearing His second birthday. All of Israel should be celebrating! Hadn't they looked forward to that day? Hadn't they scrutinized the Scriptures to determine the signs of the times? How could it be, then, that after two years, only a few shepherds and two old people at the temple had acknowledged the birth of the Messiah (see Luke 2:8-20)?

Then, suddenly, Jerusalem finds itself receiving a group of wise men from some distant country. These wise men are considered pagans, non-believers, yet they bring startling news: "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." (Matt 2:2 NIV)

They may be pagans, but they bring news of the long awaited Messiah! Shouldn't Jerusalem be rejoicing?

Notice their reaction: "When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him." (Matt 2:3 NIV)

They didn't rejoice. Instead they were all disturbed! The King of Kings was born and they were upset! Don't they see the signs of the times?

"He (King Herod) asked them (the high priest and the teachers of the law) where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" (Matt 2:4-5 NIV)

Sure, they all knew the signs, but none of them cared in the least! Not one of them hastened to see if the prophecy really had been fulfilled! No one, except those Eastern pagans, even went to Bethlehem!

Now, notice the response of the "pagans" when they meet Jesus: "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed." (Matt 2:10 NIV)

The Greek brings this even more into the light. It uses: "echáreesan charán megáleen sfódra". Literally translated, Matthew wrote: "They rejoiced with a humongous big joy".

"Megáleen" comes from "megas" which means "really big". Our word "megaphone" is derived from that word. "Sfódra" comes from "sphodros" which means "a high degree, exceedingly". In other words they had a exceedingly megaphone kind of joy! They had seen the Messiah! They believed! Their joy was genuine and followed them for the rest of their lives.

We too, can have that same "exceedingly megaphone" kind of joy. John 15:11 says: "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." NIV

Why? Because Jesus' joy resides in us! "The Holy Spirit who lives in us." (2 Tim 1:14 NIV) Nobody can take that joy away, because nobody can take our Jesus away from us!

The world cannot understand this: "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him." (John 1:10 NIV) Jesus is a stumbling block to them!

It is sad to see that the majority of so-called "believers" in Jesus day did not even acknowledge the Messiah's existence. It had to be some far-a-way pagans who brought that exceeding great news! Once their mission was fulfilled (They had seen the Messiah!), joy was their constant companion, as it is our companion as well.

I still remember vividly being approached by one of my colleagues who asked me: "Why are you always so joyful?"

I had recently given my heart to Jesus and did not even notice that I had turned from a sour puss into a cheerful believer. I wasn't prepared to give an adequate answer at that time, as I was not even aware of that genuine joy living in me, so I gave a lame excuse: "Life would be bitter if we couldn't be cheerful."

I had missed my opportunity to witness! Since then I have learned an important lesson: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15 NIV) And my answer now is this: I have that inner joy because Jesus is real and lives in me!

Isn't this great news? Isn't this the reason we celebrate Christmas? Jesus came to share with us the good news that God wants to have a relationship with us. If we allow Him, He will live in us and become the best friend we could ever have! Gone are the days of solitude, for His presence is forever: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt 28:20 NIV)

Let us share this extremely huge joy with others! It is time for people to discover who Jesus really is. Either He is a disturbance, because we do not know Him, or He is an extremely huge joy, because He is living in us.

Do you know Jesus? Do you have that huge megaphone kind of joy?

Rob Chaffart

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