Monday, March 2, 2015
The Commands of Jesus: Rejoice!
Did you watch the Daytona 500 last weekend? The Daytona 500 is the biggest race on the NASCAR calendar. All the drivers hope to one day win that race, and when they do they often celebrate and rejoice afterwards.
We get to see all kinds of celebrations on TV. Many people just watched the Oscars. I guess you could call it a celebration. But everyone was pretty much celebrating themselves. It was kind of sad really. We all think we know what it means to rejoice but Jesus has a slightly different idea of its meaning. Read this from the Beatitudes, found in the book of Matthew.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." - Matthew 5:11-12
Do we rejoice when other pick on us because of our faith? I sure don't. I tend to get really defensive. Sometimes I am even afraid to say anything about my faith because I know it will make other people uncomfortable. But Jesus said that we are supposed to rejoice in it. Do YOU rejoice in persecution? Do you think the Coptic Christians in Egypt rejoiced when ISIS cut their heads off? Think about it for a moment. Right now the persecution they experienced in this world is over. They are rejoicing with Jesus, right now. Do you think they care anymore about ISIS, about their pain and suffering? They are with Christ!
I'd like to show you one more example of rejoicing from the Bible. It is found in the story about the Prodigal Son. Only this story is not about the son. It is about the father.
"18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." - Luke 15: 18-20
It kind of sounds like the sons father is rejoicing. This story is really a parable about the rejoicing our Father in heaven feels when wee come home to Him.
You can read the whole story here.
As Christians, we are expected to rejoice at the Good News we have received. We should rejoice at being chosen to be a child of God. And we SHOULD rejoice in the persecution we face in this world because, "to live is Christ, to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).
Blessed are we who have made Jesus the Lord of our lives. Blessed are we who face persecution, abuse, teasing, bullying, beatings, whatever, in the name of Jesus. We are not of this world (Romans 12:2). Our reward is in heaven. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! :)
Today Is The Day - Lincoln Brewster
Rejoice - Chris Tomlin
I Am Second - Trevor Bayne
"4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice." - Philippians 4:4