Good News of Great Joy

Today’s Scripture: Luke 2:1-52; SOAP – Luke 2:10-12

As inspired by Love God Greatly’s – He Sees, He Knows, He Cares – W1D4

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news[that brings great joy to all the people: 11 Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:10-12

Today’s larger passage, vv1-52 of Luke chapter 1, is familiar to all believers, and aside from John 3:16, it may be the most popular passage of the Bible. Before we zero in on verses 10-12, it is helpful to look at what comes before. Basically, God sets the stage, aligning all things with His perfect will and timing. From the ‘unexpected pregnancy’, to the census, the genealogy of Jesus, and heaven’s army joining the angel and filling the sky – God is clearly the orchestrator of all these events.

Many things jumped out to me – but the one thing that connected the dots back to the beginning of Luke chapter 1 was the other angelic messages. The first two announcing a shockingly unexpected birth yet to come and the third – found in our focus passage – announcing the birth of Jesus to lowly shepherds in the fields nearby. In today’s story, as well as the others, we hear the angel, speaking on the Lord’s behalf, saying, “don’t be afraid! However, there were some notably unique messages in this third announcement from the angel, namely that he appeared to a group and not just one person … he encouraged them to listen carefully, because the message was one of good news – not just for them – but for all the people. Perhaps the most exciting news came when he clarified that the good news was the arrival of the Savior of the world – but not just a Savior – He was their Savior! And then he told them where and how they would find the baby.

The shepherds believed the message and wasted no time in going in search of the baby – “So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger. When they saw Him, they shared what the angel had told them about this child. And, not just that but they also returned to their fields glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, for everything happened just as the angel had said.

How then should we live?

It is vitally important for us to live glorifying the Father, sharing the good news of great joy by telling others what He has done. We see this played out not only in the Shepherd’s response, but in the beautiful portrayal of Simeon’s and Anna’s lives and their words to Mary and Joseph, verses 25-38. We see it played out in the life and words of Jesus, delivered through the virgin Mary – just as the angel said. We see it played out in the life of John as he lived out his calling to prepare the way for The Lord. And we see it played out in the lives and writings of the apostles throughout the New Testament. May our legacy be that others saw and heard it played out in our lives as well.

My Prayer Response to the Word

Father, I can’t help but think of the words of the prophet Isaiah, who said, How lovely on the mountain are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says your God reigns. An angel brought good news of great joy to the shepherds as well as to Mary and Zechariah, and all of them made known what you had said and done. May this be true of Your people today Father. May we live obedient to Your Word and to the examples of Christ to be Your witnesses to the ends of the earth. For were we not chosen as a people for Your own possession, as Peter said, that we may proclaim the excellencies of Christ, who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light? Father help us to be faithful with the message so that others may share in the good news of great joy that is meant for all the people, for how will they believe if they do not hear? Thank You for Your intricate plans and timing and Your faithfulness to carry them out for us that we might know Your Son and share in the salvation He came and died to bring. Help us, as Mary did to treasure and ponder these things in our hearts – for from the the mouth comes the overflow of the heart! In Jesus’ most holy and powerful name! Amen –

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