Luke 2:8-20 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you GOOD NEWS that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his FAVOR rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The angels met the shepherds with a “Fear Not” message. Most of our news is wrapped in fear and is being used as a tool of Satan to traumatize and paralyze us. I believe we need a wake-up call to the fact that the Good News of the Gospel trumps any bad news we could receive in this life.
Allow me a couple of observations about the Good News.
- The Good News Means You Can RECEIVE God’s Favor.
Look at verse 14 again: 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his FAVOR rests.”
This was amazing news for the shepherds. Favor with God? They didn’t have favor with anyone. They were considered the lowest of the low, the outcasts, the dregs of society. They were the poorest of the poor. They were the people who couldn’t do anything else for a living so shepherding just became their lot. They were the subject of people’s jokes. No one ever woke up and said to themselves, “When I grow up, I want to be a shepherd.” They weren’t even regarded as credible witnesses in a court of law.
And yet God chose them to be the recipients of the Good News! God favored them over everyone else that night. God elevated them and delivered Divine, angelic messengers to tell them they could receive Good News. The news wasn’t for everyone but them; It included them. God’s favor was for them. They had never been the recipients of favor. Their lives were about to change!
God’s favor opens doors you could never open on your own. God’s favor brings about extra support and supernatural strength. God’s favor moves obstacles out of your way. God’s favor connects you with people that can help you get where God wants you to go. God’s favor can keep you intact when the circumstances would encourage you to come apart. God’s favor can lift oppression and depression and a feeling of rejection off of your life. You want and you need God’s favor.
- The Good News REQUIRES a Response.
Why anyone would want to reject Good News and not receive it is beyond me, but it happens. Thankfully for the Shepherds, they received the Good News and said, “Let’s go investigate this situation. Let’s go see this thing. Let’s get up close and personal to the miracle. Let’s go and experience this promised favor.” They made the trip to the manger. They left where they were to connect with this infant-king, with God Himself.
If you are going to receive the full benefit of the Good News that God has come into the world, you are going to have move from where you are in response to God’s invitation to experience Him. There will be a physical relocation of sorts and there will definitely be a relocation of your thoughts and emotions. There will be a reprioritizing of your life. You won’t settle for the status quo. You will want more and more of the things of God. You won’t be satisfied with watching others grow in their spiritual life. You will want to press in to “see for yourself” like the Shepherds did. When you receive the Good News by faith and desire to experience God’s favor, it will lead you away from where you have always been. Your life will change and for the better.
- The Good News RESULTS in Transformation.
The Shepherds went from being on the fringes of society, from keeping to themselves, from living a low-profile existence, from being outcasts, to being witnesses to the birth of the Messiah. Verse 17 says they spread the word about the Good News to everyone they could encounter. They weren’t going to keep the Good News to themselves!
They had a new purpose, a new confidence. They understood that God placed a value on them that was different from the worth the world had assessed to them. God entrusted them with the best news ever. Their lives had a brand-new meaning.
The Good News the Shepherds heard is still the Good News for all people. You can have favor with God. You need Him to protect you from becoming a captive to fear and from becoming a casualty of all of the constant bad news. You need Him in order to understand your own value and worth. He has plans for you that you can’t comprehend. Whatever the world has told you that you can’t do or that you aren’t worthy of, well, God thinks differently, and He knows how to bring to pass the things in your life that He has purposed for you.
It’s time to respond fully to the Good News. It’s time to get as up close and personal as you can. It’s time to worship the Lord with your whole being. It’s time to let God order your steps. It’s time to be forgiven of sin and to walk in newness of life. It’s time to allow God on the inside so that He can transform your entire life.
It’s time to get your heart and mind off the bad news that has covered our world and to get your heart and mind on the Good News that Jesus has covered our sin. “God with Us” has become God in us for all who will receive and respond to the Good News that Jesus Christ, the Messiah has come and has conquered every fear and every foe we face.