Joy: How Do I Respond to Jesus? | May 18, 2023

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Anyone here a dog person? All my hands are up. I spend hours watching dog videos on social media because they bring me so much joy. And there’s nothing better than coming home after a long day and being greeted by your dog who jumps and wiggles and licks you like you’ve been gone for months. We don’t deserve dogs. They are pure joy bombs, and it’s contagious.

 I kind of wonder why Jesus didn’t have a dog. I digress…

Luke records a couple of stories about how people greeted Jesus when they met Him for the first time and how they responded to His presence (Hint: none as awesome as dogs):

Luke 19:1-10 ESV

19 He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

What kind of response did Zacchaeus have according to verse 6? He received Jesus joyfully. Other translations say he welcomed Jesus with joy (AMP), delighted to take Jesus home with him (MSG), and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy (NLT). In fact, he was so filled with joy, he was willing to give to the poor and give back to those he took advantage of.

But just one chapter before this, we see a different type of response to Jesus:

Luke 18:18-25 ESV

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

How interesting. One man was filled with joy in the presence of Jesus; the other went away sad. This begs the question: When we are face to face with Jesus, spending time in His presence, are we filled with joy? Or do we go away sad?

Take time to pray and reflect on these Scriptures. In what ways are you like Zacchaeus? In what ways are you like the Rich Young Ruler? Ask the Lord to show you more of Himself and fill you with more of His joy.