by Impact Church
Luke 10: 21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit…
A clause of such brevity, couched securely between the fruitful obedience of disciples and the foreordained will of God, offers potentially the greatest expression of a soul enthralled with life and truth. Knowing the travail and hurt of Jesus’ journey, to see Him rejoice at all is oddly provocative. For the traditional view of our pious Jesus is that of folded hands in prayer, whispered words of hope, and willing submission to violent men. Yet, to see Him rejoice at the level the text declares is to have both our perception of Him and our perception of difficulty, shattered to smithereens!
Ultimately, the Holy Spirit in breathing such words intends to expand our limited concept of God in order to expand our limited response to the rough and tumble of our own discipleship.
The Greek rendering of our English word, rejoiced, is “agalliao”, and is defined, “to jump for joy, to exalt, to be exceedingly glad with exceeding joy, to rejoice greatly”. And in the Hebrew, “to spin around (under the influence of any violent emotion) to be glad, joyful or rejoice”. Both are quite illustrative and far different than the sedated Jesus of modern academia. It is from these undiluted moments of Jesus euphoria that we gain insight into what true faith looks like! We understand and honor His birth, divinity and purpose; but the action verbs of His day-to-day living teach and inspire us at levels historical sketches never provide.
No scriptural mandate is more pure, emphatic or unworldly than Paul’s exhortation to “Rejoice evermore”, or “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” And they are no more impossible to obey in our own strength than those requiring us to be both holy and perfect. So that similarly, the greatest testimony of today’s discipleship is the consistent display of a glad and rejoicing heart.
Our gifts and talents may well speak of our abilities in Him, but the ability to consistently rejoice in Him declares, and requires, a far greater submission and strength. It’s only from the vantage point of a rejoicing heart that all of God’s prophecies, promises, and provisions are fully trusted and patiently anticipated. And when our circumstances and present surroundings are contrary (as they always seem to be!), only a life that exercises rejoicing as proof of faith will ever accomplish much.
Thus, it’s in the difficulties, sufferings, uncertainties and inconveniences that the visible rejoicing of confident disciples are best manifest and most productive. Place us in comfortable climes, and to the world we’re unnoticed and ineffective. But place us in environments where there’s fear, danger and hardship- and our savoring influence will affect hearts far and near. Should Jesus and His followers been sheltered from opposition, persecution and ostracization, the message of the Gospel would have long ago been duly marginalized.
But in Philippian jails, courtrooms, shipwrecks, famines, floggings, and miraculous rescues- the Gospel flourished with a small band of nobodies who considered it an honor and privilege to suffer for His Name! Their uncommon rejoicing in the worst of human travail resonates powerfully that the Cross was more than a story- it was man at the extreme of his futility, and God at the beginning of His Grace! And who wouldn’t forever rejoice when receiving such an unexplainable and unmerited gift of life!
Rejoicing then, is one of many effects of true faith. The faith of God can never be passive or static; but is one of courage, consistency and unashamedness. To rejoice is to proudly display what faith has already seen. And to rejoice is to gladly carry the reproach of His Name, while humbly possessing and sharing the world’s only hope. May our redemption always hoist the flag of genuine and constant rejoicing; so that those in trouble and apart from Him see The One who has freely clothed us with such joy and peace! And as a delightful afterthought– may our rejoicing through every circumstance be as a fingernail scraping on Satan’s chalkboard, agitating him unmercifully till he’s cast from our presence forever!