How does joy arrive in the world through Jesus?
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The Israelites choose a path apart from God. As a result, they get exiled from their land and dominated by foreign nations. But the prophet Isaiah knew that sorrow would not have the final word with these people. He looked forward to the day when Yahweh would end pain and corruption to lead them into endless, joyful living. Read Isaiah 49:13 and Isaiah 51:11. What does Isaiah tell us about God’s character in these passages? What does Isaiah say will happen to God’s people?
The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the coming of Israel’s redeemer. His prophecies were fulfilled with the arrival of Jesus. Read Luke 2:9-11. Why were the shepherds afraid? What reasons did the angels give for them to rejoice instead?
Joy can persist in the harshest of circumstances because it depends on God and his promises. Read Matthew 5:11-12, Acts 13:50-52, and Hebrews 12:1-3. According to these passages, what specific truths about God can sustain joy even through painful or dire situations?
When we see how Jesus’ loving way of life has overcome death itself, joy starts to become strangely reasonable. But this doesn’t mean it is wise to ignore or suppress sorrow. Read 2 Corinthians 6:3-10. How did Paul integrate both joy and sorrow?
Take time to discuss any other themes, questions, or key takeaways from what you learned together.