Easter 2024 - Day 7: Emotions and Joy

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy… Matthew 28:8

Jesus had been crucified, was certified dead and was laid in the tomb on Friday. Saturday was the Sabbath, a day of complete rest from labors. So, it was Sunday morning when a group of women, who had followed and supported Jesus and His ministry, went to the tomb to finish the somber job of mummifying His body. The mood was low. Everything they had invested their lives in for the last three years was gone and the one they loved was tortured, discredited, and died in the worst way.

But it was there at the tomb that instead of finding more death and a body riddled with the sickening evidence of misery, they were shocked to see wide open tomb and a dazzling lightning bright angel sitting on the now rolled out of the way stone. The only death here were the seasoned Roman guards frozen with fear as if dead. God can increase fear in people to the point that they are unable to function Jos 2:11. That’s when the angel spoke to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen…" Mt 28:5–6 So God calmed the fears of the women and heightened the terror of the guards. And once the women had received the angelic invitation to look in the tomb and see that the body of Jesus was NOT there, they were again told that Jesus had risen from the dead and not only that, but they would soon see Him with their own eyes. The word of God plus the empty tomb was enough for these deeply depressed souls to instead experience great joy.

It is often said that happiness is based on happenings while joy is based on truth. But there are other fundamental differences between happiness and joy that cause people to chase happiness and for-go joy. For one, happiness is quick. It usually involves instant gratification and what you soon find is that it goes about as fast as it came. Another reason we chase happiness is that it seems more tangible. It makes people happy, for example, to buy new things or get into new relationships. These are things it seems you can control and touch and see. But again, that which is new is soon not so new. Joy is fundamentally different because it is slow to arrive, cannot be controlled, touched, or seen and once you have it - it never goes away. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit Ga 5:22/Ac 13:52. You see that means it has to be produced by the Holy Spirit through the process of progressive sanctification (growth). You say, well the women had it instantly. Sure, believers have some real spikes in joy at times but that doesn’t mean we are cratered the rest of the time. And we can have some deep sorrows, like when we lose someone we love, but resurrection always turns deep sorrows into great joys. Joy is permanent and trustworthy because its foundation is not in you, what you can do or what you can get. Joy's foundation is in the faithful promises of Jesus Christ Himself. And so we rejoice in the Lord always Phil 4:4/1Th 5:16.

      You make known to me the path of life;
      in your presence there is fullness of joy;
      at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Ps 16:11
Resurrection turns the deepest of sorrows into the greatest of joys. So then, focus your attention on Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection for you.
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