The Beauty of Seeking Both Joy and Happiness in Christ

“Be joyful always…” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

The difference between joy and happiness is substantial. We often assume that the fleeting feeling of happiness, giddy laughter and contentment in the comforts of life is akin to the joy we experience in Jesus. But joy supernaturally sustains our souls in seasons of heartache, injustice, and sorrow. Enduring the valleys of life is nearly impossible without the life-giving fuel of joy in Christ.

There is a big difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is a reaction to something great. Joy is the product of someone great. Let us never forget the difference, nor fail to enjoy both happiness and joy fully on this earth. Jesus died to erase guilt and shame. Every day we come to Him for grace, and He is faithful to give us grace upon grace upon grace. When we are quick to confess and forgive, we can move forward in the freedom of a repentant life in Christ.

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Why Did the Veil Tear in Two at the Moment of Jesus’ Death?

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split,” Matthew 27:51

Matthew, Mark, and Luke documented the tearing of the veil in the temple after Jesus’ death on the cross. 

  • “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom,” Mark 15:38 reads. 
  • Luke wrote, “for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two” (Luke 23:45). 
  • John simply records Jesus’ last words, “It is finished,” and “with that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).

The Apostle Matthew left a historical trail of Jesus’ death by recording the events that immediately followed. John, perhaps tied in knots of emotion as he remained at the foot of the cross with Jesus’ mother as He died, can only move on after mention of His Savior’s last earthly breath before the crucifixion. 

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Pontius Pilate: His Role and Significance in the Bible

“When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor.” ~ Matthew 27:1-2

The life of Pontius Pilate is difficult to accurately trace outside of his stature as a Roman ruler. Artifacts with his image and name place him unquestionably in history, and the Bible records his presence at the scene of Jesus’ trial to be crucified. Some regard him as a martyr, and others remember him as a brutal ruler. As Christians, we know God is purposeful in all He does. As we attempt to uncover and decipher the exact events of ancient history, one thing is remarkably clear: God’s love story with His people continues on, generation after generation, and Pontius Pilate appears in one of the most poignant scenes in history.

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What Does Jesus Mean When He Says, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life” in John 11:25?

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” John 11:25 

Our Savior came to earth to testify to God’s Truth, His Truth. And in doing so as a human He chose to feel what we feel. Jesus’ life on earth, death on the cross, and resurrection, was and is the way God chooses to shower mercy on us. God, who is love, sacrificed His Son in the greatest act of love the world will ever know. John, self-proclaimed, “one who Jesus loved,” was Christ’s earthly best friend. Much like the way he saw himself changed because of Jesus, his Gospel brings the love God has for us, and the way He sees us, to life. We are all the ones Jesus loves!

John leaned on his Savior at the Last Supper. His Gospel account is rich with the friendship the two men shared. As John retells the story of Jesus raising His friend Lazarus from the dead, he camps out on a pivotal Gospel truth. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. It is in Jesus, we find true life and resurrection from the death our sins warrant. As believers in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died for our sins and was raised from the dead, we are raised to new life in Christ.

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A Triumphant Prayer for Palm Sunday

“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’” (John 12:13 ESV)

Triumphant indicates victory or success. Prayer is our lifeline to the Father in heaven, the One True God. Jesus, fully God and fully man, came to earth to fulfill the will of His Father. Our Triune God remains with us, through the incarnation of the Holy Spirit in every believer, made possible by Jesus’ death on the cross! The death and resurrection of Jesus was triumphant, indeed! Jesus was not the military conqueror king God’s people expected.

Through Christ’s death on the cross—alone but for the two criminals beside him and a few faithful followers with his earthly mother, Mary—would triumphantly defeat death. Palm Sunday, and the following days of Holy Week leading up to the Easter celebration of Christ’s resurrection and victory, allow us to witness the very character of our great God. He is loving beyond what we can understand. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. As we pray today, may every backwards situation and possible failure be revived by the hope we have in Jesus Christ. God is close to the brokenhearted, and Christ came to save all of us.

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