Good News of Great Joy
Robin Aylor 12/16/2018
Luke 2:8 (ESV) And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
In the first of two Christmas devotions I'd like us to consider how Gods amazing glory is associated with two things; fear and joy. First verse 9:
9 ...the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
Gods glory is associated with fear... It’s true and it makes sense. We see something similar in the world when we break a man made law like the speed limit for example. When we hear the siren and see the lights of the police car our heart begins beating faster and we know our wrong has been found out. Much more so, the all knowing God and who he is in all his holiness brings sinful man to quake with fear …
We see similar responses throughout scripture. Here are only a few:
Just after God audibly gave the children of Israel the 10 commandments:
Exodus 20:18 …the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”
Ezekiel 3:23 ...the glory of the LORD stood there, ... and I fell on my face.
Ezekiel 43:2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. 3 ...And I fell on my face.
Ezekiel 44:4 ...the glory of the LORD filled the temple of the LORD. And I fell on my face.
And in Acts 26 when Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he and all who were with him fell to the ground.
But here in our text, the Creator of the universe. The one who will judge the world had come down to be born as a man. There is understandable reason why the radiance of the glory of the Lord brought great fear upon these shepherds.
But notice what the angel said:
9 ...they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Did you catch the two extreme positions of the heart experienced by people who encounter the glory of the Lord? Great fear and great joy.
We will follow up looking at the good news in Luke two next time. However; since I don’t want to leave anyone hanging and waiting to hear the good news… I will leave you with words of the apostle John from his vision on the Isle of Patmos when he saw the Lord Jesus.
Revelation 1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
So looking back upon the Christmas story and the proclamation given to the shepherds to rejoice in the long expected Messiah, we can clearly see this is the same message given to the Apostle John and to you and I. Fear not, delight in Jesus as the promised one who was born as a man to live a perfect life and die a sinners death as he was paid the wages of your sin on the Cross; and then on the third day defeating death rising up incorruptible with that same promise for us who find our only hope in him. Jesus truly is the good news that brings great joy.