Good Tidings of Great Joy

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy (Part 2)

By Simon Padbury 8 August 2021 3 minutes read

The angel Gabriel announced to Mary, “a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David,” that she would conceive and bear the Son of God by the Holy Spirit, and that she must call his name JESUS (Luke 1.27-35). The name Jesus means JEHOVAH IS SALVATION. A short while later, her husband-to-be was visited by the the same messenger from God in a dream, who assured him, “fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1.20-21).

All the events surrounding the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ put joy into the hearts, and often onto the lips, of those who knew the importance of his incarnation.

When Mary visited her expectant cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit caused the babe in Elizabeth’s womb to leap for joy, and then caused her to prophesy, “Blessed art thou [Mary] among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (v.42-45).

The Holy Spirit then caused Mary to respond with joyful-hearted, praise-filled, prophetic prose to God: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation…” (v.46-50).

Soon after the birth of this Child, the angel of the Lord visited some shepherds keeping watch over their flocks on the hills near Bethlehem. They were “sore afraid” of the visitation but the angel reassured them, “Fear not.” The message he gave them that night was the most joyful ever! “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). And with him followed a large company of angels joyfully—as always—singing their praises to God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (vv.13-14).

When Joseph and Mary brought the new baby Jesus to the temple for his dedication to the Lord, a just and devout old man named Simeon gave voice to his joy when he “blessed God” while holding Jesus in his arms—because the Holy Spirit had revealed to him what this child would do: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2.25-32).

The elderly prophet Anna “gave thanks likewise” to the Lord for this baby who was to be the Redeemer, and she went and told all in Jerusalem that were waiting for him, that he had now come (v.36-48). She took her good tidings of great joy out to the city.