Lately I've been asking people this question: Was Jesus a joyful person?
My friends are puzzled and they want to say yes, but then I ask, "What proof is there that Jesus was joyful?" What do you think?
From my study so far, here are three answers and a fourth surprising one!
Was Jesus joyful?
• John 15:11 proves it: "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” Jesus spoke these words Thursday night after supper, less than 24 hours before he was crucified. Even in this foreboding circumstance Jesus had personal joy that he wanted to pass on to the disciples.
• Little children came to Jesus—why? I notice that my grandkids do not go to a person who is frowning or looking somber. They only go to “happy countenances.” If Jesus looked somber or unhappy, those kids would not have moved toward him—even if pushed by their parents. Kids can spot a happy person!
• Humor—the traditional form of Jewish humor in those days was exaggerated comparison. Things like a “camel going through the eye of a needle” or a “log in your neighbor’s eye” were funny. Though not humorous to us, that was the humor in Jesus day. Jesus must have had a joyful, light hearted approach to life.
• Surprise! Luke 10: 1-22 records the story of Jesus sending out the 70 gospel travelers. They return excited that the spirits were subject to them—their ministry is successful! Jesus told them that while they were gone he beheld “Satan fall from heaven like lightning” (verse 18)
Then a surprising comment in verse 21: “At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit….” Rejoiced greatly? The Greek word is “agallaiao.” The first syllable (aga) means “much.” The second syllable (llaiao) means jump. The word literally says “much jump!” Today we say “jump for joy!” Was Jesus jumping for joy? Absolutely!
Jesus was joyful because he experienced proof that the grand plan of salvation using ordinary people to advance the gospel worked! This affirmation brought Jesus much joy—so much that he was jumping!
How about you? Are you a joyful person? Happiness comes and goes because it depends on circumstances, but joy is deeper. Joy cannot be manufactured but Jesus’ joy becomes ours as we focus on Him and not our own stuff.
Prayer: "Jesus, like the disciples in the Upper Room, may I experience your joy day by day. I cannot manufacture joy on my own strength and I want more than fleeting happiness that depends on my circumstances. Fill me with your joy today even in the midst of daily sadness. Amen.”