Luke 2:10, “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
We live in a world with 24-hour news cycle. Between TV channels and online newspapers, the news is flying at us constantly. I’m preaching to the choir here, but most of the news coming our way is depressing and creates worry in us instead of confidence.
Our world is starving for good news.
I don’t post to Facebook often, but I posted a picture recently of each of our three daughters when they were born. It was such good news; how could I not share it? Those posts received a lot of engagement, likes, comments, and hearts. The announcement that a baby has been born is good news that creates joy. This was even truer at the announcement that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was born.
On the night Jesus was born an angel appeared to shepherds outside of Bethlehem. It must have been quite a spectacle. Luke records that when the angel appeared and “the glory of the Lord shone around them.” The shepherds had the right response, they were filled with great fear.
The angel told them not to fear but notice why. “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” The angel counters their great fear with the announcement of good news of great joy.
What is this good news of great joy? “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” This good news that brings great joy is the birth of the Savior. The long-awaited Messiah was born, and He was close to them. They could go see Him.
Why is the birth of the Savior good news? And why is this good news of great joy?
Since the prophet Malachi, there were four-hundred years of silence from God. No revelation. No word. Nothing. Any word from God would have been good news. The Old Testament closes with a word of judgment. But with the announcement of the birth of Jesus, there is good news of great joy. This is one reason this season of the year is good news that brings great joy.
Another reason the birth of Christ was good news of great joy is because of who Jesus is.
He is the Christ, the Messiah. He is the promised Savior, God’s anointed. He is the promised seed of the women in Genesis 3:15 who will crush the head of the serpent, Satan. He is the suffering servant of Isaiah 52:13-53 that would die for the transgressions of many. The angel told Joseph in Matthew that this babies name will be Jesus and He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Jesus said that He came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for may (Mark 10:45). The birth of Jesus is good news of great joy because He is salvation. Simeon in Luke 2 says He can depart in peace because has seen God’s salvation.
He is Lord of lords and King of kings. He fulfills the covenant God made with David that he would have someone sit on His throne eternally. Jesus is the eternal one who sits on the throne of David to this day and always will. Jesus is the Lord of the universe. He spoke everything into existence, and by His word, everything continues to exist.
These are not empty words from the angel. The angel spoke the truth, and we see it in the response of the shepherds. They went at once to see the baby and when they returned Luke records, “And the shepherds returned, glorifying God and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” They rejoiced in the truth, in Christ. The angel was right. The Messiah was born. And when they left the presence of the Savior, they glorified and praised God.
The good news of the gospel produces joy in our lives. It is easy during the holidays to lose joy. You might be heading into the Christmas season with a heavy load on your shoulders. This might be your first Christmas without a dearly loved spouse, a child, or a close friend. Family relationships might be contentious. You are sorrowful and sad. The paradoxical truth of the gospel is that it does not take away our sorrow and sadness, but it gives us a deep, abiding joy in the midst of it. Joy is not found in our circumstances but in our Savior, Christ the Lord.
If you are in Christ, you can have great joy because He has taken care of the biggest problem you will ever face, your sin and separation from God. God is our creator and is holy, and we have sinned against Him. But out of His great love, He sent His Son to redeem His enemies. God the Father, in Christ, has taken those who were His enemies and made them dearly loved children. Jesus obeyed where we disobeyed, He died the death we deserved and was raised from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:25).
There is no better news, there is nothing that could be a source of greater joy. How can you keep this truth in mind this holiday season and throughout the year? Jerry Bridges said we need to preach the gospel to ourselves. We can do this by writing it out daily, praying through the gospel, or reading a passage about the gospel (Romans 3 is a good one). No matter how you apply it the goal is to keep the good news of the gospel in your mind continually. When we behold the glory of Christ in the gospel, we will continually be reminded of this good news of great joy.