Good News of Great Joy

If I were to hand you a winning lotto ticket for $1,000,000, it would not necessarily excite you. That might sound weird but if you are Jeff Bezos, what is $1,000,000 to you, really? And if I hand you that winning lotto ticket and say, “Hold on to my ticket for me?”, what’s the excitement? The ticket is not for you. But imagine I hand you that winning ticket and you’re not Jeff Bezos and I say, “This ticket is mine and I’m giving it to you.”

If Christianity is something great but you do not need it, then who cares about it? If Christianity is something great but it’s not for you, there is no joy in that either. But what if Christianity is something great, and you need it, and it’s for you? Luke 2 shows us what Christianity is all about and how it comes crashing into the lives of people who desperately need it.

Jesus has recently been born, “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.” While you may never have an experience like these shepherds, you understand fear. You know deep down the fear of judgment, condemnation, and doom. You might know the fear of not measuring up, not being enough, or not meeting the standards set for you or the standards you set for yourself. Worse yet, you might know the fear of being judged unworthy by God himself.

In the midst of fear these shepherds hear the good news we need, whether we know it or not. It is the news the Bible repeats again and again: And the angel said to them, “Fear not…” The angels did not show up with judgment but with relief. But what’s the relief that replaces the fear? Why not be afraid? Here’s why not: “…for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

These verses cut to the heart of what the Bible, what Christianity, is all about. It’s not about rules, though the Bible contains a Law from God. It’s about “news” and not just any news but “good news of great joy”. This “good news” is not about what you have done or what God has done in you but about what God has done for you in sending the “Savior, who is Christ the Lord”. Christianity is about Jesus.

Now, make sure you catch this. The news of Christianity only hits home when we know we need it and when we know it is for us. The Bible delivers good news after convincing us we need it. We are convinced we need it by God’s Law. His Law (you could think of the 10 Commandments) reveals how badly we need the relief of grace. We have every reason to fear because when measured by God’s Law, we fall short. So, we need the good news that a Savior, Jesus, has come for us. And He did.

The grace of God in Jesus Christ is not for some people who measure up. No one measures up. The grace of God is for sinners. It is for the unqualified. It is for the disqualified. It is for you and it is for me.