"And then an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid" (Luke 2:9).
"But the angel said to them, 'Listen! Do not fear. For I bring you good news of great joy' (Luke 2:10a). The Good News of Jesus is personal; in speaking to the shepherds, the angel addresses it to "you."
Christianity is not only a world religion or a worldview; it's the life-changing, soul-saving, eternity-altering truth about Jesus Christ. The gospel is rooted in historical facts, but it's much more than interesting, inspiring information. The birth of Jesus has huge, real implications for life—your life, my life and "all the people" (Luke 2:10b). Everyone needs to hear that a Savior has come, He is for them and He loves them.
What we think of Jesus determines how we live, how we suffer and ultimately how we die. Jesus does not guarantee that all will be well for us in this life. But what if we know that we belong to God, and we know that everything will be okay in the end? We're here for God. We're known by God. We're loved by God. If we belong to Jesus, God is present with us. He changes us. He can identify and comfort us in our suffering because He has suffered. And when we die, He'll be there. We'll see him face to face, and He'll wipe all the tears from our eyes.
The atheist must justify his or her existence within a cold, empty universe governed by the survival of the fittest. The deist must reconcile the fact that God exists but either doesn't care or doesn't have the power to address the suffering in our world. The panentheist and pantheist cannot rightly condemn evil, since everything is tied together as one. The imperfect theist must strive to do the impossible and please the perfect demands of God.
Christianity offers the hope of Good News: A Savior has been born, named Christ the Lord. We have a real need and a real Savior who alone can really save.
In hearing about the birth of Jesus, here's what the angels do: "Suddenly there was with the angel a company of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men'" (Luke 2:13-14).
Angels dwell eternally in the presence of God, singing of His goodness and grace. When they discover that the long-awaited promises have at last been fulfilled, they celebrate.
None of this jubilation is lost on Mary. She "kept all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). She has sung previously in this Gospel, but here, she's simply overwhelmed. Perhaps it dawned on her that the Savior, the rescuer, the hero, the deliverer, the dragon slayer, the kingdom giver is there in her presence. Immanuel is there with her, in her arms, and He is her Son. Her heart overflows with quiet joy.
The shepherds depart from the scene "glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen" (Luke 2:20b). The Savior is here, hope for the world has arrived, and they've looked upon His face. They sing and celebrate with gladness and joy because Jesus is Good News.
The Good News of Jesus is for all people, including us. And our response should be to ponder this gift in our hearts, like Mary, and sing with our mouths, like the angels and the shepherds. Glory to God in the highest!
In what very practical ways should you respond joyfully to the Good News about Jesus?
Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor and the author of many books, including Spirit-Filled Jesus, which you can order here. He currently pastors The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his family. For all of pastor Mark Driscoll's Bible teaching, please visit markdriscoll.org or download the app. You can download a free devotional e-book from pastor Mark here.
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