The Good News for All Mankind: A Sermon Recap
What is the best news you’ve heard lately? The announcement of a new child, promotion at work, the disease is gone, or that everyone is coming home for Christmas? We all love to hear good news. It signals that life is changing for the better. We receive comfort in times of pain. It gives hope. Christmas is the time to once again take note of the very best of all we can hear: The Good News for all mankind.
Luke 2:1-20 gives us the scene for Christmas’ celebration. We read of the arrival of the Christ and the interaction with the shepherds.
The Arrival of Christ
When Jesus arrives, we have to consider so many different facets of what it means for us. It’s a mystery. God becomes a man. There is no way to fully understand this truth. But as we embrace it as God’s revelation to us, we can be changed. When Jesus arrives, it is as the Messiah, God in the flesh, Immanuel. God is now with us. It shows God’s generosity. Divinity becomes a gift to mankind. We have received so very much from Him. Now, as in the words of Paul, we have this indescribable gift. And, we all desperately need it. It reveals Jesus’ humility. The King became the servant. God planned all along to serve our greatest need: redemption. He humbles Himself to be like us and sympathize with our broken existence. He comes in perfection form for one great task. It provides for our reconciliation. The arrival of Jesus means that the righteous Judge is willingly imprisoned. The perfect One takes on our sin. The source of Life inhabits the breakable body of a man. Then, He went to the cross. The arrival of Jesus provides for the greatest miracle we hoped that God would do: save us.
The Interaction with the Shepherds
The shepherds are just normal, working people. They are on the late-night shift and minding their own business. Likely, they are on high-alert to guard the flock from predators. And then, they are told the most amazing news: God is intervening into the affairs of man. He is showing His mercy again.
As the shepherds hear from the angels, their fear is confronted. The angel tells them not to fear; which is difficult to do when heaven has broken into their realm. It was shocking. But all of life is shocking. Fear seems to lurk around every corner and tries to be our companion. Some fear for the unknown and some fear that their dark side will be found out by others. We all fear the consequences of our poor choices. Billy Graham helped us to see a new perspective when he said, “You are born. You suffer. You die. Fortunately, there’s a loophole.”
For these shepherds, peace is explained. They hear that the Good News is for all the people. The hostilities will cease. Our relationship with God will be set right. It is the Prince of Peace who is arriving. He will stand in the way of sin’s violence against us. He will take our place and shield us from God’s wrath against our sinfulness. Jesus will win peace for us.
Amazingly, that is not all. They are then told that favor will be shown. God has a good will toward us and for us. The Lord’s favor on us means that He intends to do good for our spiritual condition. Not just ending the war but establishing His people through a new and lasting covenant. Richard Sibbes said, “There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.” God’s good will toward mankind imparts merciful forgiveness.
As we move through the week toward Christmas, it should be with hearts like the shepherds. Let the news of Jesus arrival confront your fear and bring you peace. Find yourself in this story as the one who needs to receive heaven’s announcement. And then, go and tell everyone!