Good News Of Great Joy / Luke 12:8-15 NIV
#1 - What we learn from the ______________ .
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” Luke 2:8 NIV
God is no respecter of persons. He loves his created men and women. It’s not that he loves the poor or the worker or the disadvantaged more than the better off or higher class person. It’s just that he doesn’t love the lower class any less. And - for all the advantages of the wealthy and upper class - they have one great disadvantage: they don’t always hear God speak as well.
These shepherds wouldn’t have a college degree. Most of them probably couldn’t read or write. But they were available. Never discount your availability to be used by God!
#2 - What we learn from the ____________ .
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” Luke 2:9 NIV
We know of only one angel. We do not know his name. But we do know that he was “an angel of the Lord.” Angel means messenger. What really terrified these shepherds was the glory that shone around this angel. It was the glory of the Lord. So much glory, so much brightness, so much illumination radiated from the Lord and simply reflected off the angel.
The angel is an entirely different creation of God than man or any of the earthly creatures. Every time we read of a person’s encounter with an angel, the result is always the same. Fear! Terrified!
#3 - What we learn from the ______________ .
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news
that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10 NIV
Good news! Great joy! No fear necessary. Think about this from God’s viewpoint. He didn’t send all the angels at once. The message that He gave them to be delivered was “Do not be afraid.” He knew they would be afraid. So he “eased them into it” before the “HOST” arrived!
#4 - What we learn from the ______________ .
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:11 NIV
We have heard this “good news” line repeated so often in so many productions that it has lost some of it’s meaning to us. This verse is filled with so many historical prophecies from the Old Testament! The entire OT points to Jesus. Think of it. 1450 to 450 years before Jesus was born: 1) Promised through Abraham’s seed (Gen. 22:18). 2) Promised through Isaac (Gen. 21:12). 3) Out of the tribe of Judah (Micah 5:2). 4) Born in the family of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). 5) Born in the House of David (King) (Jeremiah 23:5-6). 6) Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). 7) Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). 8) Worshipped and presented gifts by Kings (Psalm 72:10). 9) Worshipped by shepherds (Psalm 72:9). 10) Weeping for the children (Jeremiah 31:15). 11) Flight to Egypt (Hosea 11:1). We can’t predict what will happen next year, yet these many different prophets writing over hundreds of years of time, hundreds of years before the event got every single detail right!
But it’s not the “rightness” of the message that is such good news. It is the “personal-ness” of the message. The most important two little words in verse 11 are words we just skip right over: “to you.” The Savior-Messiah-Lord “has been born to you!” Not to Mary and Joseph, but to every single one of us! Wow!
#5 - What we learn from the _____________ .
“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 NIV
For many years after the first gen Christians died off, the theological debate was about the humanness of Jesus, not the god-ness of Jesus (the exact opposite of the struggles of our rational mindset.) People in the 2nd and 3rd centuries couldn’t conceive that any god or God would ever give up such god-like powers to become a weak, powerless, dependent baby. That was the “sign” to the shepherds. There was no hiding Jesus. He was right there for anyone to see - in a public manger. Wrapped in clothes to keep him warm. Swaddled to comfort him. Dry to change out the normal human bodily functions.
We have a special word for this - “incarnation” - “The Word became flesh.” John 1:14. We can much more easily imagine a Superman - or human with super, god-like powers than we can a God taking on Himself the flesh of humanity. It would take an Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent God to figure out how to be fully and finitely human and yet - at the same time - still remain fully and infinitely God Almighty.
There are two other reasons we may celebrate the incarnation this Christmas. 1) The first is Easter! Sounds a little off to be celebrating Easter at Christmas time. But there could be no Easter without Christmas. There could be no death or resurrection without incarnation. Jesus could pay the price for our sins by his death on the cross, only by becoming human in the first place. He could only be resurrected by becoming human first - This becomes our own promise of resurrection!
2) Because Jesus became fully human, he knows what we’re going through. He knows what it’s like to be human, to be tempted, to be hungry and thirsty. He knows what you’re going through because he’s been there first.
“We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses…” Hebrews 4:15
#6 - What we learn from the __________________ .
"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14 NIV
I always used to think that these were only angels, but God’s Word doesn’t tell us that. We know other angels joined the first angel (in v 15), but v. 13 just says “a great company of the heavenly host.” Who knows all the creatures that God may have created in Heaven.
What we CAN grasp is the message of the song. Two messages really.
One aimed toward Heaven. The other toward Earth. The first - Glory to God! The natural result of anything God does here and everywhere is that it brings back to Him glory. Completely normal and natural. God deserves all glory and honor. All day every day the 24 elders surround God and praise with
“You are worthy, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11
2nd message is to us. “Dear Earthlings, you this day have received peace from God. You are no longer enemies subject to His wrath. Earthlings, you have been granted FAVOR! God’s favor. Undeserved. Unmerited. Unbelievable, unimagined, unequalled God’s favor forever.”
#7 - What we learn from the ___________________ .
“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.” Luke 2:15 NIV
Can you imagine what it must have been like to be a shepherd there on the hillside? Into the most natural of nights, the Super-natural broke in. Life was forever changed. There was the time before the angels’ song and then there was after. Nothing would be the same again. Ever. For anyone. Now these fragile shepherds scratching out survival day to day had experienced Glory. Power. Eternity. Purpose. Love. Favor. God.
So what did they do? The most natural thing in the world. They went to see the God-man incarnation of Jesus.
The shepherds’ response of 2,000 years ago should still be our response today. Nothing has changed. The news now to us is just as good, just as life-changing, just as amazing as it was then to them. The Super-Natural has broken into the natural. And as a result we don’t have to just scratch around for survival from this day to the next. But we may experience Glory. Power. Eternity. Purpose. Love. Favor. God.