Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Good News of Great Joy: God is For Us

. . . there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)

Excerpt from “The Good News of Great Joy for All People” – 2010-12-24
Consider for a moment that you’re God (which a lot of us consider quite often) and you want to announce to the world the most stunning, amazing, incredible, joyous news ever; an event which will literally change the course of history – the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Saviour of the world, the One for whom the nation of Israel has been waiting and hoping and praying for – for thousands of years, the One for whom all of fallen humanity has been waiting, hoping and praying for since the first sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden. He has finally come! Who do you announce it to? Surely not to shepherds! Some years ago when Princess Diana’s sons Harry and William were born, they didn’t send a messenger down to the docks to break the news first to the longshoremen; they didn’t issue personal invitations to the cab drivers of London to come visit Diana and her new baby in Windsor castle. No, I’m sure any announcements that were sent out were printed in gold leaf - and hand delivered to political leaders and foreign heads of state.

Yet God announced the greatest and most important news in all of history to a bunch of religious and social outcasts of ill repute, who were considered to be unclean and unworthy by human standards. But God does not live by or work according to human standards; He sees people much differently than we do. By choosing these lowly, unworthy shepherds to be the very first to receive the “good news” of Christ’s birth, God was sovereignly and providentially demonstrating that Jesus was not going to be the Saviour of only the political and social and religious elite – the kings and governors, popes and priests – but that Jesus would be the Saviour of all kinds of people - regardless of race, or intelligence, or education, or wealth, or profession, or political power, or social standing, or any of the other standards human beings judge by. God offers His love and mercy and grace to “all people” who will trust in Jesus and surrender their lives to Jesus as Lord and Saviour. This is - “good news.”