LUKE 2:9-10: “And behold,a an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
OBSERVATION: The message of Christmas is intended to be – Good News! However, we live in an ever increasing culture of anger and hatred. It permeates our airwaves through the constant droning of talk radio and media. Everyone is against something or someone. This culture has permeated the life of the church also. It seems that we talk more about what we are against than what we are for. The Gospel has become a hammer instead of an open hand. The shepherds encountered the presence and glory of the Lord – and they were afraid. The message they received is the message we need to be reminded of today.
The angel said to them – “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” This message declared the basic nature of the Gospel message – it was supposed to be Good News! The true proclamation of the Gospel does not hide from the reality of sin in the world. Rather, it gives the answer to sin – a Savior! The true proclamation of the Gospel does not condemn those who are on the wrong path. Rather, it calls them to repentance and life. The true proclamation of the Gospel does not build walls of anger and hatred. Rather, it tears down walls through love and good works.
Jesus made it clear – “The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. But I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Jesus did not come to condemn a world lost in sin. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. To the sinner broken and lost in sin Jesus had compassion and called them to repent and believe the Gospel. To the hypocrite hiding behind religion and blocking the way for sinners to find the true message of the Gospel, Jesus rebuked them – and called them to repent and believe the Gospel.
The Gospel is Good News! The Gospel is the message of redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins. The Gospel is the message of an empty tomb that proclaims that the power of sin and death have been broken and any life can be transformed through faith in Jesus Christ. This Christmas we have a choice. We can get angry and wave our fists at those who are trying to take Christ out of Christmas – Or, we can extend an open hand to those who are lost and invite them to meet the true Christ they are trying to remove. Jesus kept an open hand even on the cross. When he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, He was proclaiming in his suffering the purpose that He came. Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost.
Lord, give me a heart for the lost. Help me not to be angry at those who don’t know You. Rather, help me to extend an open hand inviting them to meet the Savior who changed my life and can change theirs. May I truly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through my words and actions. Help me to live out the truth that – The Gospel is Good News! In Jesus Name!