By John Quek
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Phil. 4:4.
You either experience it or you witness it to know what rejoicing is. The Scriptures mentioned that the Ethiopian eunuch “went on his way rejoicing” after both Philip and him came up out of the water after the former was caught away. Obviously, his feeling of happiness was a result of having being taught the truth and rejoiced he did after having been immersed in water (Acts 8:39).
This feeling of exultation and expression of joy when you have found or received something precious and valuable is often beyond description. I recently watched a documentary report that exactly gives the meaning of rejoicing. It was felt and displayed by a 40 year old British lady who was deaf and almost blind from Usher Syndrome (a genetic condition that caused one to be born deaf). Jo Milne in another news interview recalled, “I can’t stop crying. It’s amazing hearing things for the first time…It’s overwhelming”, when her cochlear implants in 2014 were switched on for the first time and Ms Milne’s “life of silence was ended”.
Even before this, Jo Milne in her teenage years had made a pact with a Bangladeshi girl whom she had befriended. “As we were growing up we always used to say to each other that one day we would try to help the poor children of Bangladesh,” said Amina, her friend. Having experienced the gift of sound, with the funds raised from several charity organizations including the Osmond brothers, 500 children in Bangladesh were given the same treatment Jo had and she saw the same reaction in the children when they were given similar hearing aid. Jo said “watching first-hand as hundreds of children were given the chance to also hear for the first time proved another emotional experience – the chance to see the children’s reactions is priceless.” As I watched this special report I could not help but be drawn to the kind of reaction Jo and the children exhibited. Words just cannot describe as accurately as having witnessed the looks and expressions in the children and in the parents when they were given the implants.
Like the shepherd who found his lost sheep, like the woman who found her lost coin and like the father who received his wayward son, they all rejoiced with the one thing which they had lost but now found – (Luke 15:4 – 31).
In Acts 13:47-48 the Gentiles rejoiced as well when they heard that salvation has now been extended to them and “they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed”.
Just as Jo Milne brought joy and gladness by giving a precious gift of sound – hearing – to the children, and the children together with their parents reciprocated with gratitude and love on the receipt of the precious gift, our preaching of the good news would likewise be accepted with the same response when friends and loved ones and even strangers hear the sound of joy, the gospel.
I have heard from quite a few brethren that many of whom they had shared the gospel with had remarked in wonderment, “I have never understood it in the way it is supposed to be – this is the first time I have learnt to truly understand it.” Just like the first sound those Bangladeshi children had heard, they were “amazed” and described it to be uplifting.
Our task is therefore to continue with this preaching of the true meaning of the gospel. Those touched will respond positively and obey God in faith and be added into the kingdom of God just like when Philip explained to the “uninitiated” Ethiopian more accurately and he eventually understood the scriptures which led him to obedience following which he rejoiced having found the truth.
Brethren, if someone presents any glad tidings to the people it is considered a good thing as Paul described it as in Rom 10:15, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” When we see a happy and a smiling face following the reception of the gospel, it would light our hearts up seeing respondents yielding to the call for obedience just as it would bring the listeners joy in listening to God’s plan.
Did we not share this same exultation when we were first taught and after having accepted the salvation plan? Have we not felt this elation and gratitude when a friend was added into the kingdom of God?
The verses in Roman 10:14 – 15 further remind us that there is a necessity for a mission and a responsibility to preach as we remain as messengers of good tiding – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Yes! How beautiful is it when the gospel of peace is preached with glad tidings of good things!
“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” – Phil.1:18
Let’s pursue as bringers of glad tidings to everyone – Rejoice in the Lord!