“So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught.”—Luke 1:1–4 (MSG, emphasis added)
“When the angels left them and went back into Heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Now let us go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they came as fast as they could and they found Mary and Joseph—and the baby lying in the manger. And when they had seen this sight, they told everybody what had been said to them about the little child. And those who heard them were amazed at what the shepherds said.”—Luke 2:15–19 (PHILLIPS, emphasis added)
According to a 2010 sociological experiment, good news travels faster than bad news. Dr. Jonah Berger, a world-renowned expert on word of mouth, viral marketing, and social influence summarized the findings of this extensive study by stating, "If I've just read this story that changes the way I understand the world and myself, I want to talk to others about what it means."
Isn’t that amazing and also somewhat surprising? Many people would have you believe that bad news travels way faster than good, but that does not seem to be the case. I suppose it’s like the old expression, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Think about it: whether it’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten, an awesome movie you just saw, a compelling book you just couldn’t put down, a really great gift you received, landing your dream job, or a wonderful, life-changing announcement, when something amazing happens, the first thing we usually want to do is share it with others!
Christmas is the celebration of the greatest news humanity has ever received: the birth of Jesus. And unlike the tastiest burger you just ate or whatever other piece of exciting news you have that likely only impacts you or a small number of people, the coming of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, is good news for everyone! It’s the kind of news we should be desperately, unashamedly excited to share with each and every person we encounter. There is no news that should travel faster than the good news that God has made a way for us sinners to be restored to a right relationship with Him, redeemed of our sins, and received into His family as children.
In today’s passages, we see two instances of people who set out to share the good news of Jesus. First, we see Luke who heard and surely saw incredible things—things he knew he needed to share with everyone he could.
Luke, a Greek who has the distinct honor of being the only Gentile to have authored a book of the Bible, was also referred to as “the beloved physician” by none other than the apostle Paul. While physician may bring about glamorous ideas and prestige in today’s world, in the time of the early church, physicians were often servants. It is likely that Theophilus was a patron of his, possibly a Roman ruler, as the designation “most excellent” was generally reserved for those in a position of power in the Roman Empire. Yet, Luke confidently shared with him the message of a kingdom that is above and beyond Rome, and a King greater than Caesar.
In his intro, Luke tells Theophilus that the message he’d received from eyewitnesses about the life and ministry of Jesus needed to be shared, so that he—and by extension everyone else who has read through Luke and Acts—may understand the message of hope. From the amazing detail we find in the Gospels, it is clear Luke spoke with various pivotal people, likely including Mary, Peter, John, and others who had walked with Christ.
A few days ago, we read about the shepherds who were the first to receive the incredible news that the Savior had been born. But they didn’t keep this news to themselves. Instead, “they told everybody what had been said to them about the little child. And those who heard them were amazed . . . .” (Luke 2:19 PHILLIPS).
As we celebrate Christmas, I pray we all remember we’ve been called to share the message of salvation through Jesus with all those whom God has placed in our lives. Like the shepherds and Luke, we have an incredible message for the whole world, and we simply cannot keep it to ourselves!
Today, everyone shares everything. From photos, to emotions, to golden nuggets of wisdom, our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds are never lacking content. We’ve witnessed the power of Christ change our hearts and give us peace. Now, we must share this amazing news with the same excitement and joy as we do a great photo on Instagram! Take some time today to creatively share what Jesus is doing in your life.