A Season of Joy
> We have been considering the persecution of believers for several weeks. This was certainly true at the time of Christ birth.
> The people of God were oppressed & persecuted by the powerful Romans, wealthy & those in authority. Injustice, slavery, forced poverty, etc. were common. Even w/in the religious community, there was greed & many other forms of ungodliness. People needed hope & renewed joy to go on in life & serve God.
> Joy is found in God’s presence (Ps. 16:11), God’s name, works & word (Ps. 89:12; 92:4; 119:111), salvation (Ps. 51:12), God’s forgiveness (Ps. 51:7-8), protection (Ps. 5:11-12), deliverance (Ps. 105:43), one’s spouse (Pr. 5:18), justice (Pr. 21:15)…
> Children are also a cause for joy (Ps. 113:9; 127:3).
I. Joy with the Birth of John the Baptist (Lk. 1:5-15)
A. Joy for an older faithful servant (Lk. 1:5-6, 14a)
A priest had many duties in the temple, but a special duty was to serve as a representative for God’s people in the holy of holies. Out of thousands of priests, only 24 were selected to serve 2 weeks out of the year – only once in his lifetime. Zachariah had waited all his life to serve God this way, been faithful, been praying for a son; now he was old with no one to carrying on his legacy & the family name. But God decides to reward this faithful servant & give him joy in his old age.
B. Joy for an older barren wife (Lk. 1:7)
As you know, barrenness during this era was considered to be punishment from God, shameful & an embarrassment for women. Elizabeth had lived with this guilt & shame most of her life. But now in her old age when there appears to be no hope, God decides to reward this faithful wife with the joy of a child (Lk. 1:24-25). Nothing is impossible with God!
C. Joy for an expectant people (Lk. 1:14b)
Many people were still faithful to God even though their lives were very difficult & many of them had grown old with Zachariah & Elizabeth. God remembers His people & decides to encourage them with the joy this child will bring.
The joy of the birth of John prepared people’s hearts for the greater joy that was to come from the birth of Jesus. The birth of John was preparing the way for the birth of Jesus, just as John himself in ministry would prepare the way for the Lamb of God..
II. Greater Joy with the Birth Of Jesus Christ
A. Greater joy for Elizabeth (Lk. 1:39-43)
Elizabeth probably felt that life could not be any better; God had taken away her shame & given her true joy - she already had her heart’s desire. But Jesus brings greater joy than having your secret heart’s desire. Jesus will fill you with the HS so that you overflow with joy from within…
B. Greater joy for infant John the Baptist (Lk. 1:44)
John was the cause of joy for his father, mother & many other people. But the news & presence of unborn Jesus brought great joy to baby John . Even in the womb John knew when he was in the presence of the King – filled with the Holy Spirit (1:15). The greatest joy in life is to know & serve the King of glory.
C. Greater joy for Mary (Lk. 1:46-49)
Jesus brought great joy to the older generation & even to the unborn child. Now he brings great joy to this teenager, who had been fearful, confused & shocked by the thought of pregnancy outside of marriage. By the power of the Holy Spirit she can now rejoice in being included in God’s great gospel plan. You’re never too old for the joy of the Lord & never too young; yield to the Lord & submit to His will & way…
D. Greater joy for the world (Lk. 2:8-11)
When Jesus was born, God sent angels to tell the world about the good news = gospel; tell the world the Savior has been born; tell the world He’s here to take away your sins; tell the world Is. 9:6; tell the world it’s time for great joy – greater than having your heart’s desire. This great joy is better than silver & gold, houses & land, possessions of any kind, job, career, education, best spouse, children… This is the greatest joy of all time & eternity = Jesus is born. Go tell it! Go tell somebody the good news…
Go tell it in your home, job, school, adults, children, parents, grandparents, all your relatives, friends/enemies, neighbors, wealthy/poor, young/old, males/females, Jews/ Gentiles… We have good news of a great joy – the Savior has come; His name is Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins; Immanuel (God with us). He was born the King of glory. Glory to God in the highest & on earth peace, good will toward men.
For every Christian here, you entered the season of joy in your life the very day & hour that God by the power of the Holy Spirit converted you & brought into the kingdom of God. At that time Jesus gave you joy that can never be taken away by this world & this world’s system. This season of joy will continue throughout this life & into eternity where joy will never end! So my brother & sister let’s praise God together for great things He has done and great joy He has given us. Glory to God in the highest; great is the Lord & greatly to be praised…
If you are not a Christian, you have a tremendous opportunity to know this joy for yourself; to experience this season of joy personally. But you must believe the good news of the gospel of Jesus. He is the only Savior & will save your soul, but you must believe.