Joy in Jesus
Monday of Pentecost 9
18 July 2016
Our joy is in Jesus. Because our joy is in another, our joy does not depend on us, our mood, the company we keep, the pressures we feel in our daily life, or the anxiety we experience because of our sin and spiritual weakness. It cannot be taken from us. There are many opportunities for us to feel anxiety in the presence of a holy and righteous God. This anxiety so easily cheats us of the joy that we have in Christ. As the Psalmist says, "In your presence there is fullness of joy." (Ps 16:11). There is fullness of joy in Jesus (1Jn 1:4).

Our joy is in another. It is not in ourselves. John the Apostle was writing of his experience with the Lord Christ, whom he heard, saw, experienced, and even touched. What was written about Christ joined John's readers in the divine fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. The apostolic Word unites John's readers with the God who manifested Himself to His people in the person of His Son. Jesus says, "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (Jn 15:11). Our joy is in Him, not ourselves, and because it is in Him it is full and complete. Jesus found His joy in others too. His joy is to seek and save the lost. His joy is in His mission to save the world. His joy was to endure the cross for sinners like us (Heb 12:2 Gk). And our joy is in Him!

The world hates us because our joy is not settled in the things of this world. The sacrilege of the world is to love itself, rather than to find joy as the beloved of Jesus. This is why the world must hate those who find joy in Jesus. We Christians know who we are because we have fellowship with the God who reveals Himself to us in Christ. The world is lost and always has been, but its wandering has gotten clearer recently. We know who we are, while those who love the world are trying to create an identity out of thin air. We know who we are because we have fellowship with the God who names us at the font: as a child of God who is named by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When I was a young man my mother would always say to me as I went off with my friends, "Don't forget who you belong to!" She did not mean her and my father. She meant my heavenly Father. When we know who our God is, then we know who we are. What joy there is in that knowledge, a knowledge delivered to us by the Word of God!

We have joy in Him even when death takes one of our loved ones. When his daughter Magdalena died, Martin Luther said, "I am joyful in spirit but I am sad according to the flesh. The flesh doesn't take kindly to this... She is surely at peace and she is well off there, very well off, and yet to grieve so much!" Our blessed dead are very well off indeed in the full fellowship of the church in heaven. They have fullness of joy. In that sharing our joy is made complete, because we have joy in Jesus. 
Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther

"When his dead daughter [Magdalena] was placed in a coffin, Martin Luther said, 'You dear little Lena! How well it has turned out for you!'

"He looked at her and said, 'Ah, dear child, to think that you must be raised up and will shine like the stars, yes, like the sun!'

"The coffin would not hold her, and he said, 'The little bed is too small for her.'

"When she had died, he said, 'I am joyful in spirit but I am sad according to the flesh. The flesh doesn't take kindly to this. The separation [caused by death] troubles me above measure. It's strange to know that she is surely at peace and that she is well off there, very well off, and yet to grieve so much!'"

Martin Luther, Table Talk, 5498
1 John 1:1-4

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life- the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us- that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (ESV)
Dear Lord Jesus, You are the joy of the church. Convert those who walk in the darkness of unbelief with the light of Your Word, that they too might know the transcendent joy that is Your gift to Your people. Give certainty of Your fellowship to those in the holy faith that struggle with the demons of depression and sorrow. Grant us peace in You. Amen.

For the newly elected officers and members of boards and commissions of the LCMS, that they might be upheld in every good work

For Paul Lasseigne, who has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, that he would be strengthened and encouraged by the promise that Christ will not abandon His dear sheep

For Robert Kennedy, who is suffering from complications from cancer therapy, that the Lord of all would grant to him health and healing
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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