“We Had to Celebrate and Rejoice!”

Joel B. Green

in The Bible and the Pursuit of Happiness

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795734
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979691 | DOI:
“We Had to Celebrate and Rejoice!”

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The view of happiness in Luke-Acts confounds expectations. A different kind of happiness appears there, as evidenced, for example, in the fact that the apostles actually rejoice when they are treated dishonorably (Acts 5:41). Through an analysis of three key junctures where the language of happiness is particularly heightened—namely, the stories about the births of John and Jesus in Luke 1-2; the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son in Luke 15; and the Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6—The chapter demonstrates that the topsy-turvy happiness found in the narrative is “defined by God’s eschatological intervention to bring salvation in all its fullness to all and, then, by the invitation to persons to order their lives accordingly.” Jesus’ coming, his message, his death, and his resurrection fundamentally change what happiness means, undercutting then-current understandings and calling for a new construal of “what constitutes and cultivates happiness.” Those who would live their lives oriented to God’s work in Jesus must thus redefine human flourishing and experience it in radically differently ways.

Keywords: happiness; Luke-Acts; Jesus; Luke 15; Parables

Chapter.  7931 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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