Good Tidings of Great Joy
What a marvelous scene is here described here in the second chapter of Luke! A multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God and heralding the birth of the Savior.
First one angel appears and brings the good news, but then there are angels beyond number. They have come for the greatest event of all the ages. They were there at the creation of the earth and they sang then too: “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). No doubt as the angels looked on in amazement at the earth God created by the word of his power, they could not help but burst into song. But now they gather to sing at even a more remarkable event — God has become a man.It is a truth beyond our ability to comprehend but one we embrace by faith for the scriptures plainly declare it.
The God who is the sovereign Creator became a baby.
The One who spoke and it all came to pass in the morning of time actually became a man. He did not just appear to be a man, He really was a man. He was a perfect man. No sin, no faults, no failures but a real man Who is acquainted now with our weaknesses and can be touched with the feelings our infirmities.We all have times when we feel no one fully understands our struggles and perhaps no one really cares about the burdens we carry, but our great high priest both sympathizes with us and cares for us. What a message of joy, that we have a Savior to whom we can turn and know in advance that He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” We are then encouraged to come to Him. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).We note that the message of the Savior’s birth came first to the shepherds rather than to those who held some position of prominence and prestige. The shepherd’s job was considered and very lowly one and they were looked down on by the “respectable” people of the day. We are reminded of the words of the Apostle,
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
It is comforting to know that God visits those who are weak. His gospel is for the poor and needy, for the proud and self-sufficient have no interest in it. “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2b). If you have been made to see yourself as one who is poor—you have great need but no righteousness to offer to a holy God—the gospel is for you.
If your heart has been broken with a sense of sin, the good news is that He binds up broken hearts.
The angel first spoke to calm the fears of the humble shepherds. It certainly startled these men as they watched over their flock that day. An angel from heaven speaking and the glory of the Lord shinning around them. No wonder they were afraid. But the message is: “fear not.” God has brought that message to His people many times. In Isaiah chapter 41 He repeatedly reminds His people they need not fear because “I am with thee...I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee.” What greater assurance could we ask for? If God is with us, and He is helping us we need not fear the present or the future, we need not fear what man can do to us.In this day it seems there is not much good news. We grow weary of hearing of senseless killings by vicious terrorists. We are saddened to witness an increasing divorce rate in America and see the tearing apart of so many families. We grieve to see the decline in many churches and desire of multitudes to hear only that message which satisfies their itching ears.
But the good news brought by the angels long ago is still good news today.
A Savior was born. Christ the Lord came to the earth. We read that He came for a specific purpose, to seek and save that which was lost. That’s certainly good to news to the soul who sees his need and knows he is lost unless rescued by the Savior.Jesus came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. There are those who, like the proud Pharisee, feel no need of a Savior. But what a joy to those who come as the Publican crying, “God be merciful to me the sinner.” Sinners are the very ones He came to save. The religionists of Jesus’ day despised His message but the publicans and sinners came to hear Him. The soul that has been touched by the Spirit of God, has been convicted of sin, acknowledges I am lost; finds great joy in the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.Paul writes, “We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jesus and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). Man in nature sees no beauty in the person of Christ nor does he find comfort in His gospel, but when he is called by divine grace the message makes sense and it is now good news.
The good news is to all people—people of every kindred and nation, people of every background and circumstance.
What ever your situation today this great Savior can deliver you. You may be disheartened and wonder if He would consider your case, but “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).The great multitude of angels were praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Let us take up the song today and praise God for giving us his Son and blessing us with the good news of the salvation that is only—and fully—to be found in Jesus Christ.