Skip to content

How the Deeply Broken Find Deep Joy

February 13, 2017

Jesus was accused of being a lot of things—a charlatan, a false prophet, a fake, a blasphemer, a friend of sinners. Only one description of that list is true. Jesus was most definitely a friend of sinners, and this is something that disturbed many people. But it seemed that those “sinners” found great pleasure in being around Jesus. Why is that?

I think the gospel of Mark lays out for us how the deeply broken found deep joy in Jesus if we are willing to tie several consecutive stories together.

Mark 2 begins a series of stories that share a common theme—the religious leaders of the day did not like what Jesus was doing or with whom Jesus associated. At every turn they questioned Him.

Mark 2:7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive   sins but God alone?”

Mark 2:16 “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Mark 2:17 “Why do John’s disciples fast and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”

Mark 2:24 “Why are they (the disciples underneath Jesus’ leadership) doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Mark, it appears, uses each of these stories to show us the building tension between the Pharisees and Jesus, a tension that crescendos at the beginning of chapter three with the Pharisees seeking a way to kill Jesus.

 

So how is it that one group of people want to kill Jesus, and another group of people rejoice, throw parties, and are full of joy when they are in His presence?

 

The reason is fairly simple. The ones who loved to be around Jesus have had their eyes opened to the reality that Mark gives in 2:7—Jesus is God. Jesus is not just a fun guy to be around; He is God. Jesus is not just a religious teacher; He is God, and all the characteristics of God are Jesus’s characteristics as well. He is the second person of the trinity.

But why does that reality bring joy to a people who are betrayers? How can knowing that God is in their presence make them feel anything other than horribly uncomfortable? The reason is that they know two more realities as well. They know who they are and what Jesus, God in the flesh, has come to do. Mark gives us this tidbit in 2:17—“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” The “sinners” know they are sick, and they have embraced the physician.

What does this result in? 2:19 answers that question by means of a wedding illustration. When wedding guests are in the presence of the bridegroom, you couldn’t be anything but joyful. For one, it was unlawful to be sorrowful while in the presence of the wedding party. Secondly, who is sad at a celebration? Sadness and celebration are incompatible.

So how do the deeply broken find deep joy? They find it in discovering three realities: Jesus is God and has the right to forgive sin (by the way, all sin committed is sin against God); they admit their own sinfulness and brokenness; they embrace the grace and forgiveness offered to them by the God-man, Jesus. This is why Psalm 16:11 says that there is fullness of joy in God’s presence.

In Mark 2:20, Mark drops his first allusion to the crucifixion of Jesus, which is the way a righteous and just God can fellowship with “sinners” like tax collectors, and me. Their sin, my sin, is never overlooked, swept under the rug, or minimized in any way. It is fully punished in the crucifixion of Jesus. And Jesus is willing to do it, even joyful to do it so that God can be glorified.

If Jesus wasn’t willing and joyful to glorify His Father through the cross and resurrection, I doubt he would be accused of being the friend of sinners, or being the life of the party at a tax collector’s home.

So the cross and resurrection is my joy. It is there where an infinitely great transaction takes place. All the believer’s sin is laid upon Jesus and justly punished by God, and Jesus’s righteousness is placed upon the believer. Forever.

Has joy been a missing element in your life as a follower of Christ? Then spend some time in the presence of Jesus, being reminded by God’s word of who Jesus is, who you are, and what He has done on your behalf.

Are you not a follower of Christ but desperately long for a joy and peace that surpasses understanding? Shoot me an email. I would love to help you discover who Jesus is.

 

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: