Jesus did not have an easy transition into this world. His parents were on a difficult road trip when He was born in Bethlehem, packed with pilgrims—required by the Romans to be there (Luke 1:1-5)—who slept anywhere they could. He knew from birth the strong smells of animals when He was laid in one of their feeding troughs (Luke 1:6-7). There He was, a baby Jew in a nation laid low by Roman occupation, Himself laid low with the animals. His parents were not even well-off enough to buy the standard sacrifice to claim their firstborn son back from God. They could give only the cheaper backup option of two young pigeons (Luke 2:24). His life was soon at risk from Herod, who killed all of Bethlehem’s baby boys first born-rather than risk a messianic competitor (Matthew 2:16-18). Road trip again: this time as exiles to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). He was an alien exile in Egypt in his first years of childhood. By the time it was safe to go “home” to Nazareth—which He hadn’t seen His whole life—Jesus was internationally traveled and had seen more of the world than many of His day. He also knew what life was like on the road. Maybe that was on His mind when He later said that the Son of Man had no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20).
So, you want to be settled? Jesus wasn’t. Do you want to be comfortable? Jesus wasn’t. Do you want predictability? Jesus’ family had little of it. Safety? No guarantee. Yes, Jesus had good parents, a good home, and learned a good trade. The family was faithful to observe Passover every year in Jerusalem (Luke 3:41). But theirs was not an easy life. Later—much later—Jesus would again encounter deadly opposition. But we are told that He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrew 12:2).
All this is to say that joy doesn’t come from your circumstance. Joy is beyond the circumstance. James did not promise a trial-free life. He did not even promise deliverance from trials and testing. Instead, he offered only perseverance to get through it all. That may not fly well in our comfort-wishing, safety-seeking world. Many today claim pain because they don’t “feel safe” when hearing disagreement with their pet views. Our good news is that you may never be “safe” in human terms, but peril never keeps you from joy!
Look at Jesus from His birth to His death and beyond. Would you call His life easy? No! But would you call it joyful? Yes! Because Jesus was filled with joy in the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21), He could face every threat, every issue, and every situation with joy. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and when you ask for it from God and cultivate it in Him, no one and nothing can ever take it away. Let us, then, no matter what, rejoice along with Jesus!
Pray with me-
Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, we ask that You grant us the faith to consider all that happens to us as joy. Help us understand that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Give us Your joy during trials and temptations. Make us faithful. For this, we pray in the eternal name of Christ, our Savior.
Read luke chapter 8 Today
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