Thursday, March 24, 2011


Before you watch the clips in this post, go to the bottom of the screen and pause the music:-)

What is the first word that comes to mind when you here the name of Jesus? Just one word. Don't read any further and think about it for a moment...What about, mighty, healer, grace, light, Lord, counselor, friend, King, love, peace? I'm sure you could think of many more. What about joy? When you think of Jesus, do you ever think of joy? Do you ever imagine Him being joyful? I don't think we do very often.

It seems in our society and I'm sure many others, we portray Jesus as very stoic and serious. The film industry has especially done this and I believe they play a big part in this imagine we carry in our heads of Jesus, as they do in so many other things. I do not believe this was who He was and is. He could not have been the serious, unmoving man who's hair was so stiff it never moved in the wind, because He was human and real. Yes, He was a real, living, breathing, full of emotion, human being. But He was perfect. Every emotion, every laugh, every tear, every bit of anger, or passion, or hurt, all these emotions were perfect and never inappropriate, but He did have them. All of them.

The more I learn of this man who was God, who is my Savior, the more the Lord shows me what a man of joy He was and is. That He laughed bigger and probably played harder than any other man. The fact that children were drawn to Him is a perfect example of this. Can you imagine a little child being drawn to someone, especially a man, who was stiff and in a monotone voice said, "Let the little children come to me." No! He must have knelt down, smiled a huge smile, opened His arms wide and joyously spoke," Let the little children come to me!" Can't you see it? A group of little ones running head long into His arms, tackling Him, laughing with delight at this great man who obviously delighted in them so. This is the image of my Jesus that I see, a man who would wrestle with little boys, hold little girls close and show them all the face of their God, changing their lives forever.

As many of you have probably noticed by now, I am a huge fan of C.S. Lewis and always find that he has the perfect quotes for what I'm looking to express.

“Joy is the serious business of Heaven.”   -C.S. Lewis

Yes, this joy that Christ has given me is a serious thing. I know this because I see it so clearly in all that He is. God is serious about us knowing Him, about us understanding that to live the victorious Christian life is to carry His burdens, to ache for what He aches for, to weep over what He weeps over, yet through it all to have His great and abiding joy. This is what I'm finding, that I have many hurts in my life I wish were not there. I ache for the people I love to come to a full knowledge of who their Jesus is, to love Him with all their hearts and when this is not the case, my heart breaks. I ache for those in my life who are willingly walking away from the Lord to come back again, or to go ever deeper with Him and not settle for the small amount of the Christian life they are living. I long to rescue the least of these that He loves so much, the vulnerable and orphaned, the misused and hurting of this world. I ache for these things, yet that deep vein of joy that He has given me ever flows within my soul and it does not diminish just because I am carrying His burdens. No! I rejoice to carry them, I find joy in bearing His heart for what He has placed in my life, because He joyously bore all that I deserved to bear! He willingly took every blow, every hit, every sin that was rightly mine. How can I do less? For life will always be life on this earth, it's full of pain and sorrows, but there are beautiful wonderful things too. Just because I'm a Christian does not mean that I escape dealing with the hard blows of life, how I handle them, however, this is what makes all the difference in the world. I have found that I cannot "handle" them at all, but willingly (and at times not so willingly) I give these burdens to Him and when I release my grasp on them, it is in that place that the joy overflows!

"There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes."--The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis

 This joy, this beautiful treasure that He's given me, it is a serious thing. It is too serious to waste on any joke, for this is who I am becoming. I am striving daily, fighting with all I have in me to be ever like this man that has stolen my heart. Jesus. It is not meant to be used flippantly, to be claimed when I do not truly posses it, for once you have tasted of it, no other "joy" compares to what He gives. For Jesus clearly possessed this great and abiding joy. I am learning more and more that the man He was, the man He still is, was a man of joy. In fact, He is the first person that God clearly and specifically talks about having joy. 
 "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."  -Hebrews 1:9
 He was anointed with joy! This was who God created Him to be! This to me, is exciting and world altering news. Just as much as He is the judge, the rider on the white steed with a sword protruding from His mouth, the man who overturned the money changer's tables, who wept for Lazarus and Jerusalem, just as much as all of this, He was a man of joy! It is a wonderful facet of His character that I desire to know more and more of. I am not wanting to know this aspect alone, for if I only focused on His joy and never meditated on any other part of Him, I would have only a part of the picture and would miss out on all that He is. And I do desire to know all of Him. So, do not misunderstand me when I speak of His joy and how important it is in my life, I am not wanting this alone, I want to be like Jesus and in order to do this, I must take on all that He is.

Yet, I am so excited about His joy! I am excited that not only is Jesus a man of joy, but God the Father is just as full of joy. Staggering thought, I know! But, clearly He states this fact.

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."    -Hebrews 1:3 

It says here that He is an exact representation of all that the Father is. If this is true than the only logical conclusion is that God the Father is a God of great joy! He is not some being sitting on a great throne in Heaven just waiting for me to do something wrong so He can strike me with a bolt of lightning. He loves me. He loves you and I so much that it was His pleasure to crush His own Son that we might be saved! How can I even fathom such a love? 

If you have never seen the Visual Bible's film The Gospel According to Matthew, you need to go rent it...actually, go buy it right now. Jesus is played by an actor named Bruce Marchiano and this man depicts how I truly imagine Jesus was and is. He is the first man I've ever seen that plays a happy, real Jesus. His hair actually blows in the wind (gasp!), he roles on the ground laughing and hugging the leper he heals, he laughs when he tells certain parables, and the grief in his eyes when he weeps for Jerusalem, when he bears the weight of his cross, it is all real. It is real because this man had to simply learn the book of Matthew word for word, for this is all the script is, and it forever changed his life. Watch the video below for one of the most powerful and awesome moments in this movie.

Oh, this is life! This is the joy of the Lord! Can you even imagine Jesus stoically telling this man to go and tell no one what had happened? No! It was too glorious of a moment! Just imagine, this man had leprosy, he had been ostracized from society, and basically given a death warrant because of this disease. Yet, Jesus gave him another chance at life! He was given back what the enemy had stolen in the most glorious way possible and there was nothing left to do but shout for joy! This is the Jesus that I see, the Jesus who rejoices with His children when He restores their life. But, this is what He has done for you and I. How often do we shout for joy over a life restored to us, at a chance to start anew? Oh, but this is what we've been given and it merits the same reaction!!! It merits shouting  for joy and laughing with all that we have in us at the pure wonderful, beautiful gift that it is!

Bruce Machiano wrote a book about his experience in making this movie. Here is what he has to say about this moment:

"As wise and as perfect as He was, no one can tell me He would have suppressed all the joy in His heart and sat there insisting on reverence and piety in a moment like that. Jesus had no need to maintain some air of poise, trying to impress people with His holiness. He had no insecurities, and His holiness certainly wasn’t wrapped up in outward appearances. He had nothing to prove and no reason to hold back. He was God, and He had no problem fully being who He fully was and fully living what He fully felt, every full moment of every day.
And that word “full” is really how I came to see the joy of Jesus. It wasn’t so much just a smile and a laugh, for as hard as he laughed and as big as He smiled, that’s how hard He wept and how deeply His heart broke."
"He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed."    -Isaiah 53:3-5

"The joy of Jesus I discovered, was wrapped up in His living in all the fullness of life’s ultimate adventure-a bigger -than-lifeness, robustness, victoriousness that comes with living 100 percent in the Father’s will 100 percent of the time.
Can you imagine the level of joy in your heart if you could live just ten seconds that way? Jesus lived every breathing moment that way. It’s beyond comprehension! Love unbounded, truth unrestrained, purpose maximized, victory realized, enemy pulverized, humanity eternalized, God glorified-it’s just too much to think about."  
                                                                                                                                                                               -Bruce Machiano

Yes, it is too much to think about, to even imagine, yet it is all true! This is what I would discover. This is what I would have you discover, the utter joy of Jesus. Yet, not only His joy, but every aspect of His precious, glorious, wonderful character. Just do not forget about joy. The clip below is the last scene in "The Gospel According to Matthew" There is a point when Jesus looks directly into the camera and as you watch it, I want you to imagine He is speaking this directly to you. I would have you leave this blog desiring more of His joy and running to seek it out. May you find His joy in your life today.


  1. I absolutely LOVE this! Your devotional on this was so powerful!

  2. Oh Jade! "The Gospel According to Matthew" holds a special place in my heart. These clips remind me of what a powerful film it it. My family always watches a "Jesus" movie around Easter and this was a new one we found a couple years ago. I watched is just a month or so before I truly gave my life to Christ and accepted Him as my King. The movie was a key part of how God turned my eyes to Christ with the correct view of Him & His glory. How beautiful to hear the Gospel of Matthew word for word in a story like manner, and realizing that He is "real", and His pure joy.
    And how encouraging to hear of the actor's experience, I am going to have to read that book! Thank you for this wonderful post that reminds me of this joy. I look forward to watching this again soon!

  3. I loved when you shared this as your devotional!
    This is so powerful!

  4. My Father in heaven has given me such great JOY in you, my sweet daughter. You are truly a precious gift from Him.

  5. so awesome, Jade. Thank you for sharing these precious truths about the joy of our Savior. I recently watched this film last month and oh how sweet it was soaking up the rich words of our Jesus from the account of Matthew. It perhaps has become my favorite book as of late and is very special to me. Anyhow, joy was one thing that greatly stuck out to me in the film, and thrilled you brought our attention to this truth in a powerful devotional. Pray your weekend is filled with His true joy. Keep writing <3

  6. Dear Jade...

    Lately as I've been walking through some really difficult circumstances, the Lord has been drawing me to Him in ways I never could have fathomed. Right now, it could be described like this:
    "Cheerfully and gratefully I lay myself and all I am or own at the feet of Him who redeemed me with His precious blood, determining to follow Him, bearing the cross He lays upon me. This is the least I can do, and I do it while my heart still lies broken and bleeding at His feet." Stepping Heavenward (page 198) by Elizabeth Prentiss

    As I'm learning the beauty of surrender and trust, He's drawing closer to my broken heart and I'm discovering the depths of His love.

    Lately, as I've been seeking Him, He's been teaching me about trust, faith, love...and within the last couple weeks, I feel like He's been trying to impress upon me the beauty of joy. The true saints that followed Him were characterized by their joy amidst horrible circumstances. When I look back some day on this season of life...I don't want to just be able to say that "I endured." But rather, "I endured..and the joy of the Lord was my strength."

    Thank you for sharing this. I started crying about half way through..our God is so gracious...and when you wrote this:

    "This is what I'm finding, that I have many hurts in my life I wish were not there. I ache for the people I love to come to a full knowledge of who their Jesus is, to love Him with all their hearts and when this is not the case, my heart breaks. I ache for those in my life who are willingly walking away from the Lord to come back again, or to go ever deeper with Him and not settle for the small amount of the Christian life they are living. I long to rescue the least of these that He loves so much, the vulnerable and orphaned, the misused and hurting of this world. I ache for these things, yet that deep vein of joy that He has given me ever flows within my soul and it does not diminish just because I am carrying His burdens. "

    I could quote it word, for word. I was just praying as I read that.
    Thank you, Jade, for sharing, and encouraging other young women to press on towards the joy of our Lord.
    Thank you so much for giving me a glimpse of my Jesus I hadn't seen before.

    Thank you.
    By His grace,

  7. Thank you so much for sharing what He's working in your life, Melanie! He is so, so faithful and how can we help but find His joy in this?:-) I pray you continue to ever discover the great depths of His endless joy.