I started a study of Luke tonight and came across this verse in Luke chapter one. The story goes that two women, Elizabeth and Mary, have both been told by an angel that they have been favored by God and that both will bear sons. Elizabeth was barren, and Mary was a virgin. Both are very excited of their fortunes. Even better, both have been told that their sons will be the means by which God’s salvation will be brought to Israel. Indeed, Mary’s child, Jesus, will be salvation itself. But this is what caught my eye.
“In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”
While not really related to my passage, there was a thought that crossed my mind.
Salvation, peace, and joy are inextricably linked.
Salvation brings joy, and does so because salvation brings peace. Just read Zechariah’s prophecy (Elizabeth’s husband) at the end of Luke chapter 1.
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Salvation, peace, and joy. These all go together.
Salvation must always end in joy. Salvation must lead to joy for salvation is peace; peace with God, peace with others, and peace with oneself. Salvation brings peace to all of these areas. Peace results when there is a reconciliation of beings to ultimate being; when we are properly related to being as it should be. Peace is not the mere absence of war; peace is the absence of deformity in God’s good creation. Salvation accomplishes nothing short of all creation being transformed and transfigured- creation redeemed and restored to its original purpose. In fact, more than restored- glorified. That is peace. Read what Isaiah says:
“”For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.” -Isaiah 65:17-25
Salvation brings peace, and peace results in joy, for it is God’s delight to bring peace through salvation. And that is why salvation, peace, and joy go together.