Advent Joy: Real or Fake?

By Not Known

In the aftermath of last week’s riot in Little India, public interest started to revolve around the identity of a particular man in checked shirt – the hero of that 8 December night who was captured on video fighting off attackers of the tour bus. Just when people thought that the hero was found, he turned out to be a fake after alert reporters blew his cover. Who was that “hero”? Where did he come from? Why did he do what he did? These are some questions that we would have asked in trying to establish his identity.

In John 7:14, we read that after 30 years of earthly living which was followed by three over years of public ministry, Jesus finally and openly taught in the Jerusalem Temple on the occasion of the national Feast of the Tabernacles. Jerusalem was the religious centre of Judaism. The Jewish leaders and people were highly suspicious of any claim to divinity. And so, when Jesus taught with divine authority (v16), the people present raised a highly sensitive question, “Have the [Jewish religious] authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?” (v26). Public opinions and reactions at that time about Jesus’ identity were divided. Some wanted to seize and probably stone him for blasphemy (v30); others simply believed him (v31); the Pharisees and chief priests did not like the positive testimonies that they were hearing, so they sought to silent Jesus (v32).

In response, Jesus made two public statements concerning his identity and authority. John 6:16 My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me. John 6:28 I am not here on my own, but He who sent me is true. In other words, they were not to listen to public opinions or the verdict of the religious authorities, they were to listen to the One who had spoken from above – God!

In the same way till this very day, people look at Jesus with suspicion, in confusion, and even opposition. For us who are in church today, many who are in Christ, and some who are not yet in Him, how do we feel when we sing the hymn “Joy to the World”? Perhaps, it is a joy that some are no longer joyful about because of the thorns and thistles in our lives. Perhaps, it is a joy that no longer means anything more than a laugh at a joke. Perhaps, we may even wonder whether this Advent Joy is REAL or FAKE…

If that’s you this Christmas, then listen afresh to Jesus who has called us to come away from the opinions of our feelings and of public verdicts. Rather, he has called us to listen to God above who had spoken, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mk 9:7)

May you find real joy in Christ Jesus this Christmas.


Benson Goh