On an average, normal night many years ago God broke through the silence in a meadow where a group of shepherds stood watch over their flock. Most certainly, when they went to work that night, they weren’t expecting to see what they saw or hear what they heard. But the message was clear. God was bringing good tidings of great joy for the whole world.
In that moment, the world was changed. God was finally bringing into the world the long awaited promise that had been mentioned time and time again in the pages of Hebrew literature and by prophets like Isaiah. His son Jesus, the Messiah was born.
The message that night frightened the shepherds who heard it. How could it have not? They had never seen a sight like this before them in the skies.
But as the words “Do not fear” came from the angel’s mouth, they began to realize the implications of the message. This wasn’t something to fear. Rather, according to the angel, it was good news for them. And it would be good news for all throughout history who would eventually hear it.
Good Tidings of Great Joy
So what really are the “good tidings of great joy” to which the angel was referring?
We are told what the good tidings of great joy are immediately following the angel’s declaration. In Luke 2:11 we read,
“Today in the town of David a Savior [Jesus] has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
There would be a sign for the shepherds that this event was true. Jesus was to be found in Bethlehem [the town of David] wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger. As the story unfolds, the shepherds would later find this to be the case (Luke 2:16).
The good news was that the Savior had come. He would bring peace. He would bring goodwill. There wasn’t a downside to this message. It was very good news.
Why Did We Need a Savior?
The question skeptics ask though is “Who cares? Why do we need a Savior in the first place?” It’s a great question that needs some basic explanation.
Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3), mankind has been spiritually separated from God. We cannot connect with God through our own effort. He is holy and sinless. We are not.
God’s holiness and our sinfulness cannot mix unless there is a bridge to cross the divide. That bridge would be Jesus. It would be through Jesus that we would have the chance to restore our spiritual relationship with God and have the right kind of connection with him.
So the glad tidings of great joy announced by the angels wasn’t so much about the birth of Jesus. Rather, it foreshadowed what would happen around 33 years later. It was then that Jesus would choose to fulfill God’s plan and die on a cross for the sins of mankind.
It was through his death and in believing what it stood for, that people throughout all history have the chance to connect with God. Jesus said it best in John 14:6,
“I am the way and the truth and the life; No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Good Tidings of Great Joy For You Today
The message is still the same for you today as it was for those shepherds in the field years ago. God offers you something special. A chance to know him and have a relationship with him for all eternity.
There are no tricks. No deception. No gimmicks.
All you have to do is believe. If you are ready to do that or explore the issue further, click on the related content link below.
Leave a Comment or Respond to a Question Below: How do you think you would have responded if you had been a shepherd in the field that night? What do the good tidings of great joy mean to you? How has Jesus changed your life?
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