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Jesus, Man of Joy – A Trip Down Memory Lane

The year was 1993. In downtown Minneapolis, in a theater lobby, Jesus showed me His favor. My friend and I had arrived early at the theater for a concert. A third friend was to meet us there; she had the tickets.

The concert featured Michael Card and Fernando Ortega, my favorite Christian music artists. My friend and I waited by the entrance doors, people-watching, until it was nearly time for the concert to start. Remember, no one had cell phones. We heard that the concert was selling out while we tried to decide if we should wait, trusting in Jesus to bring our friend here, with tickets, in time. Or, should we go ahead and buy them and risk paying the money needlessly. We stood in faith, trusting our friend would come, or else the theater would have seats for us if we had to buy tickets.

Earlier that day, I had had a special experience with “the Man of Joy” while watching an actor portray Jesus in a film. Did you know a major character trait of Jesus is joy? I hadn’t imagined seeing His joy in the Gospel narratives, but when the Book of Matthew, A Visual Bible presentation movie came out—Bruce Marchiano’s main goal, according to the director, was to show the joy of the Lord. Nowhere else but in this film will you see such a smiling Jesus portrayed. Several times, while watching the film, the Lord spoke into my heart. The sweetest was when the movie scene depicted people in a crowd climbing up a steep hillside to hear Jesus speak. The camera zoomed in on a young girl of about twelve years, long curly hair cascading past her shoulders. The moment she appeared in the scene, Jesus spoke into my heart: “You are that girl.” Her character was an “Extra” in the film. I expectantly watched to see why Jesus said I was that girl. In the next scene, at the top of the mount, people were already seated around Him on the ground. The camera focused on Him while He taught. We watch Jesus’ face light up, mid-sentence, and He stretches out His hand to someone; He walks, hand outstretched, smiling broadly. The camera shows the young girl, the recipient of His invitation. He takes her by her hand, still teaching, and pulls her along with Him saying, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” She became His illustration of a pure heart. He smiles at her, reassuring her to keep coming along as He continues to draw her to the place that we later see is right beside Him.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” is my “life Scripture”—and has always been my favorite verse because of the promise it holds. Oh, to SEE Jesus face to face. Yes, I certainly was that little girl.

I’m His favorite. Even if I had to pay for tickets, I only hoped there would be seats/tickets left. When my friend and I could wait no longer, I headed for the ticket counter, money in hand.

Enter the janitor. Dressed in a dark green uniform, pushing a trash bin on wheels, he came up to me and said, “Would you and your friend like to see the concert?”

I nodded, “Yes.”

“Here,” he said, “Two tickets. You better hurry.”

I think I squealed. Yes, I’m sure I did. I was a forty-three-year-old turned into a twelve-year-old. I found my friend, handed her a ticket, and we looked for the janitor to thank him; but he was nowhere to be found. The seats were in the third row. When we sat down, in a sold-out theater, Michael Card came on stage. Talk about joy.

Here is a link to the movie on YouTube. The young girl first appears at 26:21 — Watch the Sermon on the Mount and see the Man of Joy as He teaches the ways of God’s Kingdom.

 

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