Good News of Great Joy: What is the Response of Joy?
Part 4 of 6
a. Repentance. When true joy enters the heart of a person the response of that heart is to feel the conviction of sin. The people wept because, in the face of the joy of the Lord, they were miserable wretches. They had no hope. Their God had told them how to have an abundant life and most of what they were supposed to do was left behind when they went into exile. They rejected the joy of the Lord. And now after hearing the word of God, hearing the Law being read and hearing what true life is like, what true joy is like, they weep.
Take this back to Luke 2. When Jesus, who is the joy of the Lord and of the world, stepped into our universe, what was the response of those who truly encountered that joy? Repentance. They fell at his feet saying, “you are the Christ.” They came weeping and pouring perfume on his feet, wiping their tears of his feet with their hair.
b. Obedience. The second response was obedience. What time of year did this reading of the law in Nehemiah take place? It was the Feast of Tabernacles. This feast was commanded by God for the people to keep. The leaders say, “Hey, today is not a day of weeping. So stop that. Today is a day of joy.” That don’t tell them just go home and be happy. They say, basically, obey God.
i. Celebrate at home. This is a time feasting so go home and start celebrating. God told you to do that so, go do it. Don’t go home and weep, go home and celebrate that God provides and he saves.
ii. Generosity. They also say, don’t just think of yourselves, don’t just look inward, care for your family, and look outside of your family. Practice generosity. The poor that don’t have any food at home, they have nothing prepared to eat, share with those people. Maybe your neighbor didn’t think ahead and has nothing prepared to eat at home, share with those. When joy has come into the heart the response is to be generous. The greatest displays of generosity were shown when Christ came to earth and walked among men. The announcement to the shepherds of Christ’s birth was an act of generosity to them. Did a bunch of outcast shepherds deserve an angel army visit? Who were they? They were nobodies, that’s the point. And so what was the response of the shepherds? Generosity. They went about the town sharing with everyone what they had seen. The people that they told didn’t deserve the news but the joy of the Lord drove them to it.