We interrupt this program to bring you the following news….
“I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people! Today in the City of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord! And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”
We return you now to your regularly scheduled program.
Wonder how Heaven decided who would deliver the news of Jesus’ birth that night? Was there a competition among the angels? Did they draw straws? Was the announcer chosen by merit? Did anyone say, “Gabriel got to tell Mary and Joseph; it’s my turn”? What were the requirements? A good speaking voice? Fluency in Aramaic? And was the announcing angel disappointed when Heaven’s light was switched on and the audience for this event-for-the-ages was revealed to be a few rag-tag shepherds?
H. V. Kaltenborn, Edward R. Murrow, and Walter Cronkite, eat your heart out! This was the best announcing job of all time.
Let’s break this wonderful announcement down into its ten components…
Do not be afraid.
Angels always prefaced their announcements with these words. We smile at that because it makes complete sense. We get invaded by the supernatural so seldom that when it does happen, our hearts stop, our mouths drop, and our knees knock.
I imagine the angels paused for a full minute before continuing, until the pulse rates returned to normal.
No more fear.
it’s the best news imaginable. Now, keep in mind that for news to be good, it has to address a bad situation. A cure for cancer is discovered, that’s good news. The war ends, good news. Dad gets a job, good news. But to find a cure for some disease no one has ever had or heard of? Not good news.
Throughout the New Testament, the message of Jesus Christ is called good news. Paul was not ashamed of it (Romans 1:16) and said it was the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (I Corinthians 15:1ff.)
No more darkness.
it results in pure unadulterated ecstasy. The shepherds “went back, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as had been told them” (Luke 2:20).
“In Thy presence there is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand, there are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
No more sadness.
For all the people.
it’s for everyone, crossing every border and drawing in every race. “God so loved the world.”
In most cases with which we are familiar, good news for one group becomes bad news for another. Your country wins a war; another loses. Your team wins a game; someone else loses. But in Christ, we are all winners. “More than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).
No more exclusion.
it’s for you. It’s personal, as though this message came special delivery to your home with your name on it.
By saying this to the lowliest strata of humanity–shepherds are said to have ranked on the social scale just above lepers–the Lord is making an eloquent statement of inclusion for all humanity. If these guys were included, no one is left out!
No more being left out.
it’s for now. They’ve waited for hundreds of years. Anna, the elderly lady of Luke 2, spoke to “all those waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
When Jesus began His preaching/teaching ministry, He said, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). And He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
No more waiting.
In the City of David.
it’s here. In the very city where David lived and grew up, where he kept his sheep and played his lyre and composed hymns. Perhaps these shepherds are keeping sheep in the very same pastures where David once worked.
No more looking here and there, wondering, questioning.
“He shall save His people from their sins,” said the angel to Joseph (Matthew 1:21). The best news of the ages is there is a Savior, His name is Jesus, and Jesus saves!
Jesus alone is the Savior. “Neither is there salvation in any other…” (Acts 4:12).
No more trying to save ourselves.
Christ the Lord.
This Savior is the Messiah of whom the prophets spoke and wrote, of whom God’s faithful people read and for whom they longed. To be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), called “wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6), and to bear the sins of us all (Isaiah 53:6).
No more searching.
This shall be a sign.
“Here is how you will find the One born to be your Savior.” I love the simple directions given by the angel to the shepherds. “Wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” There couldn’t be two of those in Bethlehem.
It is our privilege to tell people today how they may find Jesus the Savior. As Paul said, “The word is nigh thee…that if you will confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
A final word: This old news is ever new.
Any news is new if the recipient has never heard it.
And for those who know the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord, the news seems fresh every morning.
Let us tell the good news.