He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouts of joy.

Job 8:21
children listening to the pastor

This week we reflect on Jesus’ walk to the cross, his suffering and death, and ultimate resurrection.  It is a week filled with extreme opposites.  Just days after crowds shouted “Hosanna in the Highest” welcoming Jesus, they cheered for his brutal death.  

Today’s Bible verse is an example of extreme opposites. This verse about laughter and joy comes from Job, the Old Testament story of an upright and faithful man who experiences great suffering. Within the span of one day, Job learned that all of his sheep, servants, and children have all died. Job 1:13-19. If this was not enough, Job is also afflicted with terrible skin sores all over his body.  Job’s friends come to comfort him and remind him that God will provide laughter and joy. 

Even our own sanctuary during Holy Week demonstrates the tension and opposites.  Compare the dead twigs and branches on the altar with the joy of the children smiling and laughing with Judy on the steps.

For me, as I reflect on this season the juxtaposition of extremes is not mere coincidence.  It is one of the most important messages of this season.  Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are our hope and joy in a world of wanting, suffering, and despair.  Indeed, it is the extreme opposite that John foreshadowed when he described Jesus’ birth.  Jesus is the light of the world.  “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5.

Corey Booker