Joy to the world: the Lord is Come
by Carole McDonnell
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Joy to the World. The Lord is come. Let earth receive her king."
Let's study that for a while. We have gotten so used to gentle Jesus meek and mild and to the English royalty that we take the idea of Lordship and Kingship wrongly.
We are told in this beautiful line of the hymn that the Lord has arrived after a seeming long absence. Not baby Jesus, but king and Lord. And we are to receive him. Many folks accept Jesus as their Friend that sticks closer than a brother. And He is. Some accept him as Savior. And that He is. And everyone gets all gooey over gentle Jesus meek and mild. But here we are told here to accept a Lord and King. We are to accept the Rule of someone who has claims on us.
We are told to "Let every heart prepare him room." Prepare room for whom? Not a cozy sentimental baby Jesus. The heart must be prepared for the King who rules and reigns over us, in a true kingdom ...not of wealth and power but a kingdom whose royal law is Love. We can all prepare our hearts for a baby that is sweet and helpless. But how much harder is it to prepare our hearts to be ruled? And not some smidgen little part of hearts, either. The whole thing! The Lord demands all. Who tells the king of the heart and the earth that He can only have a small part of our being? God wants to feel his love in all our being but He also wants to rule all of us. This might mean a humble moving bit bit of spiritual housekeeping...confessions and self-purififying, trimming our oil, watering with the word, dying to self, seeking the kingdom, but this is what we have to do.
"He rules the world with truth and grace."
I love this verse. We have heard that "love makes the world go round", "money makes the world go round." "God helps those who helps themselves." But here comes this bit of good news. It is not law and perfect behavior that rules the world. It is not appearance of "righteousness" and external adherence to religious traditions. It is not money. It is God's gracious love towards those who do not deserve it, his kindness to folks who are not as sane or well-behaved or even as well-intentioned as they should be.
And what is this thing about ruling the world with truth? We've been told that "Life is a bitch and then we die." We've been told that God doesn't mean us well. He loves us and may do nasty things to us to make us grow." But now we know the truth. The Truth is Jesus. We now know what the Father is like because we have seen Him through His son. The world that cannot contain truth will soon acknowledge truth. People will know themselves. People will know God. People will see through lies. All through the power of the coming King and His Spirit.
"No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found."
Oh , how wonderful! The curse against mankind that was brought on to man through the First Adam's disobedience is now removed. Jesus became a curse for us, took captivity captive and gave eternal life and innumerable spiritual gifts to men. Through the second Adam's obedience, we are able to receive the blessings of God. No more are we separated, but we are reconciled. No longer does the veil separate us from God. Jesus is both priest and sacrificial lamb. His own holiness helps us to enter into the holy of holiness. The blessings of Abraham, the blessings of the first born is now ours.
Some people might say that Christ's blessings do not flow as far as the curse is found, what about sin, disease, sickness? What about them? What about the creeping power of Sin? When Cain grew envious of his brother, Sin lay crouching at the door ready to master him. And it did. Sin laid Cain low. And even now, our enemy the devil like a roaring lion roams the world seeking whom he may devour. But Jesus has conquered sin and if we draw near to Him, He will give us power over sin. Who ever heard of such a thing? From the beginning of time, who ever heard of a people who had power over sin? God himself lives in us helping us not to sin. And what about the curse of death? "O grave, where is thy sting? O death, where is thy victory?" He who believes in christ will never die. And Death itself will die. Jesus humiliated all the weak and beggarly elements that would oppress us. There is no place where God's glory is not shown in Jesus Christ. Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Death will confess that it does not rule Christ. Sicknesses have been known to flee away at the name of our Lord Jesus.
"And makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love."
Now this is startling. God has devised a plan and what is the plan? He is going to use His people to show the world what righteousness is and how loving He is. That is a high calling.
Through us, the world will know that God is indeed righteous. Humanity will know our Father because of our love. Unlike the complainers in Enoch's time and Jude's time and our time who all speak great swelling words against God, we know a thing or two. We know that God is loving; we have seen His kindness to us and to all men. God has made us pure in heart through the blood of Jesus and now we can see the kingdom of God. Others make look at some occurrence and see pure happenstance or even evil. But we look on it and see that God is working in our lives. In addition, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. We are now able to love others as Jesus loves us. We have joined the great cloud of witnesses and our lives will be a witness to God's goodness. But we didn't have to struggle to get the Holy spirit and find God as those great witnesses did. The Holy spirit is freely given to us to help us be witnesses.
"Fields and Floods, rocks, hills and plains, repeat the sounding joy." Yes, the rocks cry out. Let heaven and nature sing of the glories of our God and king.
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