“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.'” (Luke 2:10-11 ESV)
“When the day finally came, it was like no other day that anyone can remember. It had a flavor of its own, an extemporaneousness which gave it something of the quality of a vast, happy village party as people wandered about, sat, sang, and slept against a slimmer background of trees, grass, flowers, and water.”
These were the words of novelist Mollie Panter-Downes, a British writer living in London, describing what happened when news of the German surrender reached the Old City. The good news of the end of World War Two changed everything for those who lived there.
Roughly two thousand years before that happy day in London, the greatest news ever reached the most unlikely group. In London, the news of Germany’s surrender was relayed to statesman, officials, and the like. When Jesus was born, God chose a group that was despised, held in contempt, and generally frowned upon. He chose shepherds: the best news the world ever heard was first entrusted to some dudes on a hillside in a forgotten corner of the pagan Roman Empire. God seems to always use the most unlikely people to do the most extraordinary things.
Last time, we thought about the gospel—the good news—as news. This morning, think with me briefly why the gospel is good news. First, it is good news because God acts to save sinners. We’ll talk more about this next time, but for now, remember that we don’t act and then God saves us. Rather, the gospel shows us that God acts and then we are saved. Again, no other religion teaches anything like this.
Second, the gospel is good news because it extends to all people. Christianity is not a tribal religion. It’s not an American religion or an African religion. Since God is the creator of everything that is and since all people bear his image and his alone, then when he acts to save people for himself, it will not just be a certain ethnic or cultural group. No, heaven will be made up of those “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev 5:9). What starts on a hillside extends to the galaxy.
Third and finally, the gospel is good news because it is about God keeping his promises. It is “Christ the Lord” who is born—the Messiah, the one God promised for centuries. This means we can trust God because all of his promises are true, all the time, everywhere (2 Cor 1:20). This week, pray and ask God to make you a man of the good news: a man who knows he’s a sinner saved by God’s doing alone, a man who knows that God’s work is often done through unlikely people in unlikely ways, and a man who reflects his Father’s promise-keeping faithfulness.
© First Presbyterian Church