A Time For Joy

Jan 28, 2024 607

A Time For Joy

Jesus’ final, triumphant entry into Jerusalem was just what the name says. It was triumphant. It was exultingly joyful! Many of the people had followed him all the way from Galilee to Judaea just to see this with their own eyes.

The multitudes were convinced that their Messiah, their saviour, had finally come to rescue them from hunger, from oppression, and from exploitation. Finally, they would be revealed before the world as who they truly were, God’s specially favoured people! 

They were seeing the prophecies in the Bible fulfilled before their very eyes!

This is how Luke describes it (Luke 19:35-38):

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” 

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

The Pharisees often criticised Jesus for celebrating too much, for finding reasons to enjoy life with others.

In the gospels, the religious leaders in Jesus’ day come across as not being very happy people at all. It really seems to bother them when people are happy and having a good time. That’s why, we read next that,

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” (Luke 19:39.)

I guess the Pharisees also had some very practical concerns in mind as well. It was so close to Passover, and the city was bursting at the seams with pilgrims from every part of the world. It was just at times like this when religiously-motivated riots were common, along with the brutal and bloody response of the Romans who were stationed in Jerusalem during Passover to keep the peace.

The Pharisees could see that the huge crowd was getting more and more out of control, and they were worried. It was a volatile and potentially very dangerous situation.

However, I think that Jesus answered the Pharisees with a smile, as he spoke up to them above the cries of the crowd:

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40.)

Jesus tells us that there is a time for happiness and a time for sorrow.

What Jesus was saying here is that there is a time for joy, when you simply have to celebrate. The Pharisees often criticised Jesus for celebrating too much, for finding reasons to enjoy life with others. They preferred to live austere lives of outward religiosity with apparent privation. That was how religion was perceived back them, and how it is all too often perceived today. We see this reflection in the question of John’s disciples, who had earlier come to Jesus and asked him,

“How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” (Matt. 9:14).

Jesus answered,

How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast” (v.15).

The wise man had said it well a long time before,

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance (Eccl. 3:1,4).

When you know that Jesus is with you, it is a time for joy!

The religion of some people seems to be all about being solemnly miserable. No wonder more people don’t want to be Christians!

But Jesus tells us that there is a time for happiness and a time for sorrow. There is a season for everything. And when you know that Jesus is with you, it is a time for joy!

Even as Jesus rejoiced with the people on this day, as he entered Jerusalem, he knew that within a week he would face a time of sorrow. He would be betrayed, abandoned and killed.

This reminds us that this is what the rollercoaster of life is like, with its highs and its lows. But when Jesus is with you, you will be sustained by the underlying theme of joy today, and joy at the end.

Eliezer Gonzalez

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