What is the Good News?
Good news is always an excellent reason for celebrating. A friend or loved one receives a promotion at work. This is great to hear and a reason to be happy. Birthdays, anniversaries, your team wins, even the end of winter can be fantastic news to hear. As good as any of these situations or countless other events not listed can be to hear about, if nothing happens to you, how exactly does this change your daily life?
I want to spend some time discussing the greatest good news that’s ever been shared before. But, more importantly, I want to reflect on why this good news needs to be celebrated every day instead of a few short weeks every December. So, the verses the rest of this post will focus on are Luke 2:10-11.
“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear 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.’”
Many of us are familiar with Luke’s account of The Birth of Jesus Christ. The passage we are looking at here comes from when the angel of the Lord shows up and tells the shepherds to make sure their Christmas tree is up and leave milk and cookies out for Santa Clause. As inappropriate as that may seem, it’s how too many of us choose to celebrate this good news of great joy. We make it important until all of the presents are opened, and then we begin setting our hearts on Easter.
Don’t worry. My intentions here are not to remind you that you’re a sinner who will never hit the mark without Jesus’ saving grace. Instead, I want to focus on precisely what this good news is. As important as the birth of this child was, I believe there’s so much more that Jesus wants us to celebrate every day of our lives.
What is the Good News?
Jesus the Christ, during the 33 years He was in human form, was God put into a human body. As God in human form, He was limited by His human body (e.g. He was not omnipresent), but He was also divine (proved by His wisdom, countless miracles, and being raised from the dead).
The birth of any human needs to be celebrated. Still, how exactly does this change the way we live our daily lives? The angel of the Lord proclaimed this was “good news of great joy.” In what way?
The birth of Jesus Christ ushered in the Kingdom of God into the sinful world we live in. This wasn’t a baby to marvel at. Instead, it was, and continues to be, the opportunity to experience the presence of God the Father through the birth of His Son. Jesus allows us to live our daily lives in a personal relationship with God, here and now. Right now.
The birth of Jesus Christ gave us an opportunity to have a new life. When we believe, we become transformed into something new. His birth allows us to live as Jesus did, today. This is a reason to celebrate! Without the birth of Jesus, there is no process of sanctification for us. His birth makes it possible to receive new hearts and transformed minds. This brings forth blessings that we live, right now. We can inherit the blessings and favor of God as an opportunity to point others towards Him. Through growing more Christ-like ourselves, we glorify who He is.
The Gift of Free Will
One of the greatest blessings God gives to every person is the gift of free will. We have the power to choose how and why we want to live. We make countless decisions every day that affect who we are and our experiences.
As amazing as free will is, the truth of the matter is that every one of us is born with a human, sinful will. Unfortunately, often, our free human will, distances us from our Creator instead of drawing us closer to Him.
The good news is that through the birth of Jesus Christ, we can both seek and live in God’s will. We can make the unnatural become routine, putting away our selfish and sinful desires to live the life God would have us live. We can obey God the Father only through the birth of His Son.
Opportunity for Joy Through Obedience
Speaking of “obey,” the word “obedience” is a trigger word. For unbelievers, it is a word of judgment and threats of potential punishment. For misinformed Christians it is a convenient way of putting others down, playing the holier-than-thou card, and threatening hell. For the born-again believer, obedience is a tremendous and powerful source of joy.
How could one word have such radically different triggers?
First, let’s clear up a common misunderstanding. Obedience is not a topic for un-believers. Obedience does nothing for the un-believer and should never be brought up with the un-believer. Obedience doesn’t save them, it doesn’t help them get closer to God, and it certainly doesn’t result in spiritual joy.
Contrarily, Christians should be celebrating Jesus because He taught all of us to seek obedience as a source of joy. Obedience is how we respond to God because we quickly realize it is a joyful way to stay close to the Father. Our obedience is met with a flood of love from the Father. Obedience draws us close, prepares us for the next assignment from our King, and gives us the power to complete His assignments. Obedience is a response to our love for Him.
Obedience and free will are a spiritual bonanza if we believe Jesus. He doesn’t force obedience; we get to choose it. It is our love offering to Him and gives us a chance to draw close to Him and be blessed by Him. Hallelujah! This is “good news of great joy”; something that needs to be celebrated every day of our lives!