Thought for the Week - 24th DecemberPastor Gareth Watkins
Luke 2: 10-11
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.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
The main focus of this story is that the good tidings, or Good News, is for all people! It’s not just for the few – this is for all people. It’s Good News! And for those who reject it, they reject something of eternity. But for those who embrace it, there’s a blessing that comes through for us from eternity. It’s an incredible thought – this message came with something for all people.
What is Good News? Is it the absence of bad news? No, it’s an incident of its own type. This is a particular event in time where there is Good News happening and great joy about to happen. Other things were also happening. For example, this is happening in a background of poverty, political happenings are about to emerge, oppression, and a slaughter of the innocents. Yet, in the middle of all that, God breaks through and tells these shepherds there is “good tidings of great joy which will be to all people”. It’s the greatest miracle of all time. God is going to bring into this world His son, and that son will bring something through Him that will touch the lives of all humanity. All humanity can be touched through this one, specific event. It’s enormous!
It’s for all people! Not just for the rich, or for the well turned out, or for the ‘decent’, or for the ‘ones and the twos’. It’s for all. The Good News spoken of in this passage is for everyone and is still touching lives today.
Jesus means different things to different people in the world. He has been different things to each of us throughout this year. He carries various titles. For example, in the Bible we read of Him as:
- Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
- Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)
- Provider (Genesis 22:14)
- Counsellor (Isaiah 9:6)
- King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15)
- Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13)
- Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5)
- Saviour (Luke 2:11)
- Lamb of God (John 1:29)
- Teacher (Matthew 7:29)
Over the past year, each of us have experienced different aspects of this Good News titled in these names. Some of us, for example, have met the wonderful counsellor at the times we’ve needed wisdom and comforting. Some of us have met with the Lamb of God, who takes away our sin. Some of us have met with the Alpha and the Omega, who is over all things, from the beginning through to the end.
Christ, who is the Good News, is so many different things to us. As the Bright and Morning Star, He is the glory of God who transcends everything in the natural life. We can be in awe of the beauty and loveliness of God. We can also know our Saviour – Christ who has saved us, who has freed us, and who has bought us. Other times, we can find our King of Kings, who is in control and in command of all things. Life, our hurts etc. don’t matter, because He is over all things. We are safe if we hold onto Him.
These are all Good News! Yet the world doesn’t know. We are called to go into the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). This Good News is for all humanity. Paul writes:
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you,
which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved…
What does the word Gospel mean? It means Good News! The Corinthians received the Good News, lived in it and were saved by it. The message that came to Mary and the Shepherds, was of the Christ, by whom people are saved. When they receive that Christ, they and we have a chance of finding God and being saved. But we have to be like Mary and say “let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1: 38). We have to yield to God and not do things in our own way.
It would’ve been far easier for Mary to have done things in her own way. Her lot was a big lot to carry. She wouldn’t have had run away to Egypt, she wouldn’t have had to be hidden, she wouldn’t have had to be fearful of Herod, she wouldn’t have had to carry what she did through Christ’s ministry and crucifixion. She carried a lot because of “Let it be to me according to your word”. But she did it. That doing of it and receiving of it, carried on to the Corinthians. They received it, could stand on it and were saved by it. And that salvation carries on to today.
If people today receive that Good News, that Good News that is ours will allow them to stand – in their life, in their community, in their families and in themselves – and keep on standing. The winds and storms of life come against all people, whether they’ve built their life on the sand or the rock, but those who have built their life on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27) will continue to stand. That is the Good News for the Christian. They won’t be washed away. That Good News will also give them salvation; continual, ongoing salvation unto eternity.
That is our testimony of 2017. That we stand by the Good News and the Gospel that was given to us. That Good News was for the shepherds, it was for Mary, it was for Joseph and others in that place, and it is for us!
The Good News of Jesus Christ is for us. We can know Jesus the teacher, Jesus who brings peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), Jesus the Saviour, Jesus who is over all things. But it starts with the sort of prayer that Mary made, “Let it be to me according to your word”. The rest then becomes God’s business. If we make that promise to God, then He has to speak, He has to do and put things into actions. He looks after the rest. And there comes the peace – we can rest, because it’s according to His plans.
We need a vision for 2018. Without a vision, we have no dates, plans or desires. Each of us need a vision. We read in Proverbs 29:18 that “where there is no vision, the people perish”. Without the vision, we don’t keep on this road. This road, written about by Paul to the Corinthians, talks of life. There’s a believing and an ongoing faith. We believed for yesterday, but we need to be believing for tomorrow. We need to be believing for the people in the world.
We can’t put our light under a bushel and pretend it’s still a light (Matthew 5:15). When it’s lit it’s meant to shine. The Good News carries on until Christ comes back again.