WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 18, 2020
TOPIC: GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY!
BY T. O. BANSO
“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’” (Luke 2:10 English Standard Version).
Perhaps one of the first things a student of journalism learns is that bad news is good news! I think it’s really not the fault of journalism; it’s just a reflection of society. Often times, negative news attracts people’s interest more than positive news.
When things are working normally, they won’t attract much public interest as when there is a disruption, crisis, when everything is collapsing. Most people won’t buy a newspaper that reports that hospital workers are working despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s considered normal!
However, a news report that the management has been forced to discharge patients and lock up the hospital because the workers have gone on strike would attract public interest. Bad news sells more than good news. Therefore, journalists report or give prominence to bad or negative news.
Actually, they are trained to have a nose for news and expose what somebody else is trying to cover up. Oddity and conflicts are two of the elements of good news but the press is sometimes accused of sensationalism in the presentation of its reports. I think journalists report positive things, too, for us to read. Maybe they’re not just given the same prominence as the bad news.
Having said that, over 2,000 years ago, there was good news that was also good news! The birth of Jesus Christ! The news source was an angel! News reporters wouldn’t have attached any importance to His birth because there was nothing strange about it. The child had normal features that babies have; so, it wouldn’t have been good news!
However, the angel came to announce the birth of Jesus to some shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. They were greatly afraid when they saw the angel as the glory of the Lord shone around them.
Luke 2:10-12 says, “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. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger’” (New King James Version).
After this, an army of the troops of heaven suddenly came to join the angel that brought the news. They were praising God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Verse 13 New King James Version). These angels departed and the shepherds went with haste to Bethlehem to confirm what they had been told. Just as the angel had told them, they found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. They went to announce what the angel had told them about the baby and all those who heard it marveled at what they said (verses 16-20).
The birth of Jesus was good news then, and it remains good news today. Luke 2:10 in the English Standard Version says, “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’” (Luke 2:10 English Standard Version).
Please, take note of that phrase: good news of great joy. This is what the New King James Version refers to as “good tidings of great joy.” Also, note that the joy in both translations is for all the people. That’s the foundation of that Christmas hymn: “Joy to the world”. The birth of Jesus has implications for all peoples, the entire world. Why? Because He is the Saviour of the world.
Jesus came to save humanity, not the Jews alone, from sin and hell. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 New King James Version).
The New International Version renders Luke 2:10 thus: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’” Similarly, the New Living Translation presents the verse this way: “But the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news of great joy for everyone!’”
The birth of Jesus is good news that brings joy for all the people. It’s not like some news items that are considered good news by journalism standards but are bad news that doesn’t bring joy to people. The birth of Jesus is good news that brings joy to all people. It brings joy because our salvation has come. Matthew 1:21 says, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (New King James Version).
The birth of Jesus brings joy because God came down to live with man. Quoting the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 7:14 on the birth of Jesus, Matthew 1:23 says, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us’” (New King James Version).
The birth of Jesus was good news to a certain man in particular. His name was Simeon. He was a just and devout man, who was waiting for the Consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him. Simeon had received a revelation by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. What a joyful man he was when he came by the Spirit into the temple and saw Jesus brought by His parents for dedication! (Luke 2:25-27).
He took Him up in his arms, blessed God, and said, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (verses 29-32 New King James Version). Simeon was fulfilled. The birth of Jesus was good news for him.
The gospel is good news. Some Bible translations actually use the word Good News instead of the word gospel. The book of Mark opens by saying, “Here begins the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1 New Living Translation). When Jesus started His ministry, He went everywhere preaching the Good News.
Mark 1:14-15 says, “Later on, after John was arrested by Herod Antipas, Jesus went to Galilee to preach God’s Good News. ‘At last the time has come!’ he announced. ‘The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News !’” (New Living Translation).
Luke 8:1 says, “Not long afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby cities and villages to announce the Good News concerning the Kingdom of God” (New Living Translation). The message of the kingdom is Good News.
As the angel said, I also bring you good news of great joy. The early church preached the Good News. Many Bible verses refer to the message they preached as the Good News or the gospel. Join the spreading or continue to spread the Good News of the kingdom of God. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news” (Isaiah 52:7a New King James Version).
The Good News will cause great joy for all the people. Do you have the joy of salvation? Do you know the joy of sharing the Good News with others so that they can have the joy of the LORD? Spread the Good News that Jesus Christ is Lord. There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved but the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus, to save the world from sin and hell. Holy Spirit, help me to be faithful in preaching the Good News to others so that they can have the joy of the LORD? This season, convict as many as are yet to give their lives to Jesus that they accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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