Advent Devotionals

Advent Daily Devotional - Joy to the World!

Day 3

Todd Tillinghast

Day 3 – Tuesday, December 5

Key Verses:

“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” — John 2:11, New Living Translation

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” — Hebrews 12:2, New Living Translation

Today’s Reading: John 2

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When we hear the words of the Christmas Carol, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come,” we can think of the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes asleep in Bethlehem. But an event near the end of Jesus’ earthly life would paint the most powerful portrait of joy (Hebrews 12:1-2). 

A few years prior to that event, recorded in John 2, Jesus performs His first public miracle, which happened at a wedding in Cana. Interestingly, out of all the miracles Jesus could have selected for His inaugural demonstration of power, He chooses one that does not meet a desperate need — as most of His later miracles would — but rather creates joy. 

Jewish wedding feasts were marvelously festive occasions, often lasting an entire week. They were full of joy, feasting, laughter and dancing.  

The most important element of the wedding feast was the wine. The master of the banquet — to keep the wine flowing — would usually bring out the expensive wine first and let everyone drink until they were drunk. Then the master would bring out the lesser quality wine. At this particular wedding, the wine started running out earlier than expected. Mary, Jesus’ mother, suggested Jesus do something about it.   

Jesus tells the servants to fill up six large stone jars with water and to take some to the master of the banquet. When the master tastes it, the water has been transformed into the best wine. The guests, overwhelmed with joy, claim that the master “saved the best wine for last!”

A few years later, during the Last Supper on the night Jesus is betrayed, Jesus tells His disciples that the wine represents the blood He would shed on the cross. In fact, He endured the cross knowing the joy that awaited Him and awaited us upon His resurrection. Jesus would ultimately bring the joy that results from the freedom from sin at the great cost of His own life.  

The couple at the wedding likely did not have the resources to provide enough wine for their own wedding feast, but Jesus provided. Likewise, we cannot afford to pay for our own sins. There is nothing we possess and nothing we could ever do to earn our own salvation (Romans 5:17-18). But Jesus paid our sin debt with His own blood, purchasing eternal life. Joy to the world! The Lord has come!  


In what ways are you trying to earn God’s forgiveness?

Knowing that Jesus has paid for the forgiveness that you can’t earn, how might this bring you new joy?


Lord, we are so thankful for the incredible gift of grace that we have received as a result of what Jesus did for us on the cross. We acknowledge that we don’t have the ability to pay for our own salvation but are thankful for this gift of grace. Help us to live with an awareness of that grace and a deep knowledge that the favor we have in You is not based on our performance but on Your mercy. Thank You for Your love.

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Todd Tillinghast is currently serving as the national team leader for Cru Panama in the Republic of Panama. He also serves as the pastor of preaching and vision for La Comunidad Bible Church — a multicultural, multigenerational congregation in Panama City, Panama. He has been married to his beautiful wife Marielena for 23 years and has two sons, Juan Diego and Lucas.

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