Matthew 1-2:12; Luke 1-2:20
I hope everyone had a blessed and Merry Christmas. I also hope that as we celebrated Advent—the birth of the Jesus Christ each and every one of you were able to revisit a familiar story and have found or seen something that maybe you have never seen before. The good thing is you don’t have to wait till next Christmas to read it again. Jesus’ birth is told to us in Matthew and Luke’s Gospel. Together the two give us a glimpse into miraculous conception and their journey across Israel to Bethlehem in order to register for the census.
With the prophets giving hope for the future coming of a ruler that would be born in Bethlehem, Israel nonetheless would miss the coming of her King as Jesus remind them in Luke 19:42-44. Between the shepherds and the wise men there is one thing that seems to resonate from the announcement from the angelic host we find “good news of great joy.” I would say that if I turned on the TV and the local news told me they had good news of great joy I might just sit down and find out what this news was all about. And the thing about this news was no one was looking for it, no one was expecting it, and as a matter of fact most had even given up hope to some degree because for four hundred years there had been no word or prophesy from God. And all of a sudden Gabriel speaks to Zacharias in the Temple while offering prayers on behalf of Israel. Awestruck and fearful he is muted until the birth of his son John the Baptist who would be the forerunner of the Lord (Luke 1). What we read here in v.14 is that Zacharias would have joy and gladness and others would rejoice because of the preaching of John the Baptist. Right there says it all even before the baby Jesus is even born, we are told that the preaching of John the Baptist would bring with it rejoicing. The Shepherds experienced it through praising and glorifying God, the Wise men—as they traveled for at least a year. We are told they rejoiced with great joy when the star led them to the place house where Jesus was (Matt 2:10).
The reason for all the rejoicing was because the Savior had been born. You see the in the Greek the same word for Good News and Gospel comes from the same root word for evangelize. As a matter of fact, it is where we get the word for evangelize. Simply put what all of this means is that the from the cradle the birth of Christ looked to the Cross of Calvary. The good news is that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but rather to save those who would believe in Him through His own life (John 3:17). That right there is the good news! That someone loved you enough to send their own son into the world to die for the sins of the world (John 3:16). I would have to say that is Newsworthy to be listening to, especially in the world in which we find ourselves today. And what is even better about this news is God is waiting for you to respond today if you never have. All it takes is praying a simple prayer, dear God, I thank you for the good news of the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ. God, I ask you right now to forgive me of my sins, cleanse me of all the things that make me a sinner by the power of the blood of your Son Jesus Christ. God bring me into your family and help me to live a life of joy by your Spirit in Jesus Name, Amen. And just like that you too can know and understand, experience the rejoicing that still brings great joy.