“Rejoice evermore.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
Most people think that John 11:35 (“Jesus wept”) is the shortest verse in the Bible, but our text is actually even shorter in the original Greek. In one sense, these two two-word verses complement each other—because Jesus wept, we can rejoice evermore. Christ died that we might live. He became poor so that we could be eternally rich. When Christ rose from the dead and met the women returning from the empty tomb, He greeted them with the words “All hail” (Matthew 28:9). The actual Greek was the same word as “rejoice,” and surely His victory over sin and death provided the greatest of all reasons for the world to rejoice.
The contrast between suffering and rejoicing is present throughout the New Testament, with the former typically preceding and bringing in the latter. Its first occurrence is in the closing verse of the beatitudes: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you . . . for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12). The final passage, when the sufferings of the saints are all past and Christ comes to reign, the multitude sings in heaven, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come” (Revelation 19:7). In that great day, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4), and all the redeemed will, indeed, rejoice evermore.
Therefore, we can live our present lives in the light of our future lives, “as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10). The apostle Paul exhorts us to “rejoice in the Lord alway” (Philippians 4:4), and Peter says that, loving Christ, we “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). HM