BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“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’” (Luke 2:10-11 NKJV).
Christmas is a time of joy. This has always been since the angel announced the birth of Jesus over 2,000 years ago. Caesar Augustus had decreed that there should be a global census, which made everyone return to his hometown to be registered. Consequently, Joseph and his wife, Mary, who was pregnant, travelled from the village of Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. Joseph was a descendant of King David.
Mary went into labour while in Bethlehem and she was delivered of her child whom she wrapped snugly in strips of cloth. She laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the village inn. This is recorded in Luke 2:1-7.
Mary’s pregnancy was of the Holy Spirit as there was no sexual union between her and Joseph whom she was engaged to be married to. God had sent the angel Gabriel to Mary, who was living in Nazareth, and told her she would become pregnant and have a son she would name Jesus.
Mary was surprised by the message and asked how that would be possible because she was a virgin. “And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible’” (Luke 1:35-37 NKJV).
Mary replied to the angel that it should be to her according to his word. The angel departed. However, when Mary became pregnant, Joseph decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly (Matthew 1:19). But, while he was still thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, telling him not to be afraid to continue with the marriage because the pregnancy was by the Holy Spirit. When Joseph woke up, he obeyed the angel and brought Mary home to be his wife. But she remained a virgin until her son was born. Joseph named Him Jesus.
Christmas is a season of joy because the birth of Jesus is a thing of joy. At the time of His birth, shepherds, living out in the fields, were keeping watch over their flock by night when an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were greatly afraid. “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’” (Luke 2:10-11 NKJV).
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a multitude of the heavenly host (other angels), praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14 NKJV). After the angels had departed to heaven, the shepherds went to confirm the birth of the baby. Then, they publicized what had happened and what the angel had told them about the child. The shepherds returned, glorifying, and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.
Recall that the angel told the shepherds in Luke 2:10 that he brought the good tidings of great joy, which would be to all people. This is important, especially this Christmastime.
Why the Birth of Jesus is Good Tidings of Great Joy
1. The Saviour is born. The angel brought the good tidings of great joy because the Saviour is born. The birth of the Saviour is good tidings. The angel said, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:11 NKJV). This calls for great joy.
The angel who appeared to Joseph in his dream while he was thinking of discontinuing the marriage told him that the baby Mary would give birth to would be called Jesus, for He would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Jesus is the Saviour of the world
The father of John the Baptist prophesied, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us the house of His servant David” ( Luke 1:68-69 NKJV). Jesus is that horn of salvation.
When Jesus was presented in the temple, Simeon, a just and devout Jew waiting for the Consolation of Israel, said, “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” (Luke 2:30-32 NKJV).
In Luke 19:9, Jesus told Zacchaeus, in reference to His visit to his house said that, that day, salvation had come to his house because he also was a son of Abraham. Jesus came to save the world. He said in John 12:47b that He did not come to judge the world but to save the world. Similarly, in Mark 2:17b, He said He had come to call sinners, not those who thought they were already good enough.
Jesus was born to save the world and He died for that purpose. Ephesians 1:7 says in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Also, Colossians 1:14 says in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Therefore, we must preach the repentance and remission of sins in His name to all nations (Luke 24:47). The birth of Jesus was the birth of the Saviour and is good tidings of great joy to all people.
2. The Son of God (Son of the Highest) is born. The birth of Jesus was also the birth of the Son of God/Son of the Highest. In Luke 1:32-33, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive and bring forth a Son, who would be called JESUS. He would be great and called the Son of the Highest. He further told Mary in verse 35 that the Holy One she would give birth to would be called the Son of God. The birth of the Son of God is good tidings of great joy to all people.
3. The King is born. The birth of Jesus was also the birth of the King. This is good tidings of great joy to all people. In John 18:37a, when Jesus was brought before Pilate prior to His crucifixion, he asked Jesus, “Are You a king then?” But Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born” (NKJV). In Matthew’s account, when Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered, “It is as you say” (Matthew 27:11 NKJV).
Jesus was accused of calling Himself the king of the Jews (Mathew 27:37; Mark 15:21, 32; Luke 23:36-38; John 19:19-22). This is not true. In John 18:36, He had told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (NKJV).
When Jesus was born, the wise men from the East who had seen His star and were searching for Him called Him the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2). In John 1:49, Nathaniel, who later became His disciple, said, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (NKJV). But His kingdom was not an earthly kingdom. People misunderstood His kingship. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16; 17:4). On one occasion, some people had wanted to make Him king by force but He departed to the mountain alone (John 6:15).
Also, during His triumphant entry to Jerusalem, the multitudes of His disciples shouted, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Luke 19:38a NKJV). In a similar context, John 12: 13 records the multitude calling Him the King of Israel. But Jesus was not the political king they wanted. The birth of King Jesus is good tidings of great joy to all people. The King should be enthroned in your heart.
4. God is now with us. The birth of Jesus means that God became man and is dwelling among humans. This is good tidings of great joy to all people. As said in 1Timothy 3:16a, God was manifested in the flesh. “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23 NKJV). This is a fulfilment of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:1. When you accept Jesus into your heart, God is with you; He is dwelling in you. This is good tidings of great joy.
5. The birth of Jesus will bring glory to God in heaven. At the birth of Jesus, a multitude of the heavenly host joined the angel that announced His birth to the shepherds and praised God, saying Glory to God in the highest (Luke 2:14a). Also, the shepherds, after they had seen the baby, Jesus, returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them (Luke 2:20). Thus, the birth of Jesus brought and still brings glory to God.
The mission of redemption Jesus came to accomplish on earth brings glory to God. Throughout the world today, many people are giving glory to God for their salvation and for miracles being done in the name of Jesus. This is good tidings of great joy to all people.
6. Jesus will bring peace on earth and goodwill to all men. Also, Luke 2:14b says on earth peace, goodwill toward men! The American Standard Version renders it as, “And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.”
Jesus is called the Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9:6. Jesus came to make peace between man and God. Sinners are reconciled with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18). By Jesus, God reconciled all things to Himself (Colossians 1:20). Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and through Him, we can come to the Father (John 14:6)
Whoever accepts Jesus into His heart will enjoy peace. Have you? He said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (NKJV). This is good tidings of great joy to all people. Are you glad you have peace through Christ Jesus?
7. The good tidings must be preached to all. In Luke 2:10, the angel said he brought the shepherds good tidings of great joy, which would be to or for all people. The shepherds, after confirming the birth of Jesus as the angel had told them, made widely known what the angel had told them concerning the Child, Jesus (Luke 2:17). The phrase “Good tidings” also means good news. “Tidings” is an old English word for news. And the gospel is the Good News.
Luke 8:1 says that Jesus went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings, good tidings, or Good News of the kingdom of God. In Luke 4:43, Jesus said, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other places, too, because that is why I was sent” (NLT). He told John’s disciples to tell him, among other things, that the “Good News is being preached to the poor” (NLT).
Believers are to preach the good tidings of great joy about the birth of Jesus and the work of salvation to all people. Jesus said we should go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). This is glad tidings; this is the Good News.
Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (NKJV). Saying a similar thing, the prophet Nahum said, “Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace” (Nahum 1:15a NKJV). Also, Romans 10:15 refers to these two scriptures.
8. The kingdom of God has come. In Luke 1:33, the angel Gabriel told Mary that the kingdom of the Son she would bring forth would never end. Jesus is the embodiment of the kingdom of God. His birth ushered those who believe in Him into the kingdom of God whose full manifestation is at His second coming.
Isaiah 9:6-7 says, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (NKJV).
Jesus preached that the kingdom of God was near (Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9, 11; 21:23). However, He also said in Matthew 12:28, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (NKJV). The kingdom of God is already here but its full manifestation is at His second coming. Do you belong to the kingdom?
9. The light has come. It is good tidings of great joy to all people that the light has come. John 1:4-5 says in Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. Jesus is the light of the world and whoever follows Him shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12). He says, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46 NKJV). He also says in John 9:5 that as long as He is in the world, He is the light of the world.
This is good tidings. Have you received the light into your heart? Celebrating Christmas without Christ in one’s heart is meaningless. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16 NKJV). Have you seen the light?
When you see the light and receive the light into your heart, you become the light of your world. Jesus says to His followers in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (NKJV).
10. There is abundant life in the Son of God. This is good tidings of great joy to all people. Abundant life is available in Jesus Christ. He says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV). Jesus came so that we may live life more abundantly, live life in greater measure, or live life in all its fullness.
Conclusion: The good tidings of great joy, which is to or for all people has been delivered. Receive and believe it if you haven’t. Preach the good tidings of great joy that God became man and He is dwelling among us, He is with us, and He is dwelling in our hearts. Unto us a Child is born; unto us, a Son is given (Isaiah 9:6). Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 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 3:15-16).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that 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. Merry Christmas!
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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