“And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy…” Luke 24:52
The use of superlatives in the Bible is never about hyperbole, never about exaggeration for emotional effect. It is about the precise use of language to express the truth. The enormity of God cannot be expressed in words alone. The most superlative expression we could use would still fall short of His glory. But when Word speaks of something in magnified terms you can be assured it is no exaggeration.
Great joy is just that, Great Joy! Joy is good at any dimension, but great joy is joy in enormous proportions, abounding and overflowing. If a good belly laugh is consistent with good joy, then a belly laugh with rolling on the floor laughing out loud and running around the room jumping up and down in hilarious out bursts of glee, while at the same time singing a happy tune would be consistent with Great Joy!
There are times in our lives when we feel our joy cannot be contained. In those times it is as though we’re hitting on all cylinders, we feel like we could walk on air or at least dance a jig at the slightest suggestion. We are mentally, physically and emotionally on a high and all is good with us.
For those of us who believe and trust in Jesus Christ, great joy emminates from an inward awareness of peace and pleasure with God, wherein our gratitude and love for Him permeates our total being.
Just imagine what the day of Jesus’ ascension was like for the disciples who had spent 40 days walking and talking, eating and fellowshipping with Him after the resurrection. There must have been many times of laughter and continual revelations of truth from Him.
They had heard Him preach before but now they were hearing Him with renewed ears to hear knowing that they were communing with God. That He was indeed alive meant that all the amazing things He had taught them and all that He had promised them were also true and all the that He had prophesied would happen.
The Word was coming alive to them in amazing ways for the first time and everything He did and said during those days just deepened their faith and confirmed their hopes and that gave them great joy!
“And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.” Luke 24:50-53
And that joy was not fleeting, but deep and sustained. It stayed with them after His ascension when He was no longer physically with them as they returned to their lives in Jerusalem, continuing daily to worship Him in the temple.
Great joy was the angel’s declaration to the shepherds in the field keeping watch over their flocks the night that Jesus’ was born.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
God’s plan is to bring our joys into fullness, by His promises, His Word and giving to us the things we ask of Him.
“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24
“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” 1 John 1:4
The ultimate purpose of the Word in our lives is not to judge us or keep us continually seeking a state of perfection by living up to an impossible-to-keep set of commandments. No. The purpose of the Word in our lives is to bring us to a state of heart, soul, mind and spirit where our joy is full, complete and continually abiding in us.
And that great joy is ours, today for the asking.
“And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” John 16:23