BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY….. “…the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10 NLT
The unmistakable theme of Jesus’ birth, life and ministry was that He was the Savior of the “world.” Almost sixty years after the birth of Christ, John would write, “He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” (1 John 2:2 NLT)
Paul, the Apostle would write about the “mystery of the gospel” and declare, And this is God’s plan: “Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:6 NLT)
From the announcement of the angels to the shepherds on the hillside to the words of the apostles as they wrote to the first century church we see this focus of one message of good news, one way to God, for all the world. What some would view as “narrow” is intended by God’s sovereign plan to be clear and simple.
This is not “everyone finding their own way.” This is God revealing Himself so that we would know the way. Before His death, Thomas asked Jesus, “How can we know the way?” It seems that many still ask that question today. Both the clarity and complexity is found in Jesus straightforward response 2,000 years ago, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6)
It doesn’t matter whether would are a lowly shepherd or a revered wise man. It doesn’t matter whether you are poor or rich. It doesn’t matter your ethnicity or your nationality. It doesn’t matter if you receive a visit from angels, or you search diligently. All roads lead to a manger. Nothing is more disarming and simple in wonder than a new born baby.
Jesus is to be accepted as a gift. He is to be revered as Lord. He is to be followed with full devotion.
When Jesus is embraced as Savior and Lord the response is the same for all. It is great joy. It is a new beginning. It is hope. It is the assurance of eternal life. It is the confidence that “He will never leave us or forsake us.”
The shepherds left the manger with “fear and great joy.” The wise men, returned to their home “another way.” While the later simply refers to their alternative route home to avoid Herod’s wrath, it is a fitting metaphor for the life change that Christ bring to our life. When we encounter Christ we are never the same.
That spiritual experience of new birth is a foreshadowing of the eternal promise the Lord has for all who follow Him.
“We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” (1 Corinthians 1551-53 NIV)
The message of hope is still the same. It is still for all. It is a “gift that keeps on giving.”