Friday, December 3, 2010

The Good News of Great Joy: God's Joy is With Us

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." (Luke 2:10)

Excerpt from “The Good News of Great Joy for All People” – 2010-12-03
The “good news of great joy” is that God has come into the world in human form of Jesus to live with us so we might know the joy of His presence on earth. The Bible tells us that Jesus would be known as “Immanuel” which means: “God with us" (Matthew 1:23). God came to earth in the human form of Jesus to experience life as we know it. He worked, walked and talked; he was hungry and tired; he cried and he laughed; he loved and was loved; he was hated and forgave; he struggled, experienced pain, and died. Jesus knows our experience; he knows how we feel; he has been where we are today. He is with us through hard struggles; he travels with us on the bumpy, painful, dangerous roads. And he promises he will always be with us: “I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

The “good news of great joy” is that God has sent a Savior into our lives to rescue us and redeem us from our sin so we might know the joy of being restored back to God. The Bible tells us that in the beginning we were created by God in the image of God for a relationship with God. But God’s image in us became warped and our relationship with God was fractured when we sinfully choose to rebel against God and go our own way. Jesus came to pay the price and absorb the consequences of our rebellion so we might once again be restored the relationship with God we were created for. God, in being holy, must punish rebellion with eternal death - and so Jesus went to the cross and took our punishment so we might know eternal life rather than eternal death. This is “good news of great joy.”

The “good news of great joy” is that God sent Jesus to bring joy “to all people.” What “to all people” means is that the “good news of great joy” is for anyone and everyone who opens their hearts and surrenders their lives to Jesus. Jesus came to be with us and Jesus gave us his life for us – so that you and I and “all people” who give their hearts and lives to him will know the “good news of great joy.” In John 15:11 Jesus said: "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."