Where Does Joy Come From?
Read Luke 2:25-32 (ESV)
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
What led Simeon to joyfully praise God? Where do you look for joy?
Have you ever met anyone who just exudes joy? Maybe that person is able to praise God even in the midst of troubling times. Maybe they were even able to face their own impending death with peace and joy. Where can we get joy like that?
In today’s passage, we meet one of those people. Simeon was a devout Jew who was faithfully waiting for the Messiah to arrive. The Holy Spirit had told him that he wouldn’t die until he had seen the Promised One.
After Jesus’ birth, His parents obeyed Moses’ law and took Him to the temple in Jerusalem to dedicate Him to the Lord. Once there, they encountered Simeon who immediately recognized this baby boy as the Promised Messiah, the Christ! So he took Jesus into his arms and began praising God! He said that his eyes had seen the salvation that God had prepared for everyone, not just for the Jews but for the Gentiles as well. Once the promise that the Holy Spirit had made to him had been fulfilled, Simeon praised God. He knew he could now “depart in peace.”
How was he able to say that he could leave this world in peace? Why was he so comfortable with his own death? Because Jesus had come and He was the Christ! Salvation was here and he had seen Him and held Him in his own arms! God kept His promise to Simeon and He kept His promise to all mankind. God promised a Savior who would restore His relationship to His people and God delivered on that promise.
That same joy is offered to each and every one of us who is in Christ Jesus. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we’re from or what language we speak. Salvation is offered to us all through Jesus and this is the source of our deep, abiding joy!
But some of us tend to look for joy in all of the wrong places. We look for joy in the temporary and the worldly. Some of us look to our kids to fill us with joy but we soon discover that our children can bring us just as much heartache as joy. Ever heard the saying that “you are only as happy as your least happy kid”? We may also think that our spouse is the source of our joy but our spouses are human and they let us down. If we look to money, we soon find that money may be able to buy temporary happiness but not lasting joy. Happiness from jobs, possessions, relationships, family…all of it is fleeting.
Friends, Simeon knew that lasting peace, joy, and deep contentment is only found in Jesus Christ because He alone is our salvation. He’s our hope for eternal life! Worldly happiness is temporary. It will never last. But the joy of the Lord is eternal! No matter what happens to us here on earth, our salvation cannot be taken from us. Even in the midst of pain and suffering, we know that God’s promises to us of an eternity free of pain and suffering will never fail. And like Simeon, this deep assurance of salvation should lead us to joyfully burst out in praise to God. And when it is our time to die, we can depart this world in peace because we have the promise of something infinitely better.
Lord, thank You for keeping Your promises. I know without a shadow of a doubt that in Christ, I am saved and that assurance brings me never-ending peace and joy, even when the things of this world break my heart. Nothing else in this world compares to the promises we have in You because nothing else in this world will last. Thank You for being my salvation. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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