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Resurrection - Let There Be Joy

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Resurrection – Let There Be Joy!

Lk 24:13-15 TNIV “Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.  They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.  As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them...”  Jesus joined them on the road – their walk.

The Psalms of Ascent (Ps 120-134) were songs that set the stage for the Israelites’ journey to the Holy City; they were songs “for the road.”[1]  Hebrew pilgrims sang these Psalms as they travelled up to Jerusalem to seek and worship God.  They would wind their way up from the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea to Jerusalem, the highest point in Israel.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, "The essential thing 'in heaven and earth' is...that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living."[2]  To keep walking the pilgrim road through life and on to eternity, we need the power of Christ’s resurrection present everyday!

1.     Resurrection – Let There Be Joy!

Ps 126:1-6 NKJV “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream.  Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing.  Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”  The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.  Bring back our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the South.  Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

This is as Psalm of celebration and great joy.  It is a Psalm of resurrection creating great joy.  It does not deny pain, captivity/slavery and suffering; but it does not dwell there defeated and without hope!  Rather, it points toward the God who always brings His resurrection power to bear in our lives whether in past, or in the present or in future.

In the past: Ps 126:1-2 NIV “When the Lord brought back the captives... we were like men who dreamed.  Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

In the present: Ps 126:3 TNIV “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

In the future: Ps 126:5-6 TNIV “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.  Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”

Two things show this a Psalm of resurrection – it begins in captivity and ends with harvest.

A.       Deliverance from Captivity.

Rom 6:16 NLT “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey?  You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.”

The most terrible captivity is the slavery of sin.  Without Christ’s redemptive resurrection, our lives would end with the certainly of eternal death.  Nevertheless, if death could not contain Christ, the God’s promise is that sin cannot contain us.  1 Cor 15:17-20 NLT “If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins...  And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.”

B.       A Seed Sown.

This Psalm calls us to a distinct disposition toward road of life – sowing in tears but reaping with joy.  Ps 126:5-6 TNIV “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.  Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” 

“One of the most interesting and remarkable things Christians learn is the laughter does not exclude weeping.  Christian joy is not an escape from sorrow.  Pain and hardship still come...”[3]  We rejoice not in the circumstances, but in the Lord Jesus Christ, who through His resurrection is Master of all circumstances.

Lk 24:15-16, 31-32 TNIV “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him...  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.  They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Resurrection transforms sowing into reaping.  Jn 12:23-24 TNIV “Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

2.     Let There Be Joy!

“Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship, it is a consequence...  Joy is a product of abundance; it’s the overflow of vitality.”[4]  Jn 10:10 NKJV “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly – life that overflow.”

Ps 126:2 TNIV “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

Ps 126:3 TNIV “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

Ps 126:5-6 TNIV “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.  Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ connects pilgrimage, faith, hope, and joy, to eternity.  Without it, Christianity would be nothing more than a noble philosophy.  The resurrection has power to transform every pain, every sadness, and every disappointment, into glorious joy, if we invite the resurrected Christ to join us on the road!

Because of the resurrection, joy is characteristic of Christian pilgrimage.  A miracle of joy is the first of Jesus’ miracles in the Gospels.  Jn 2:11 TNIV “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which He revealed his glory; and His disciples put their faith in him.”

Redemption ought to summons a response of joy from our hearts.  1 Pet 1:8-9 TNIV “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”


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[1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999).  Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.)

[2] Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans. Helen Zimmern (London: 1907), sec 188.

[3] Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction (Intervarsity Press 2nd Edition 2000), pg 100

[4] Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction (Intervarsity Press 2nd Edition 2000), pg 96

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