A wife said to her husband, “Shall we watch the six o’clock news and get indigestion or wait for the eleven o’clock and have insomnia?” Someone else put it, “The evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening’—and then tell you why it isn’t.”
We live in a world filled with tragedy. If there’s anything this hurting world desperately needs, it is good news. Not only the world in general, but individuals need good news because their lives are strewn with suffering and sorrow. The Christmas story as told by Luke offers not only good news, but the best news in the world. The angel told the shepherds, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
The best news in the world is that Christ the Lord has come as the Savior for all.
Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s nice, but to be quite honest, it doesn’t relate to the problems I’m facing. It may give people a brief feeling of hope and peace every Christmas, but then we have to get back to reality. Honestly, this story doesn’t touch the pain I feel or the tragedy I struggle with on a daily basis.”
But if you’re thinking that, you don’t understand the significance of this news as it relates to you personally. The news that “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” is absolutely the best news there is or ever could be.
First of all, this is the best news because it centers on the most unique Person in history. I’ll focus in a moment on the fact that He is the Savior. For now, consider that ...
Jesus is the Christ
The word “Christ” is Greek for “anointed one” (the Hebrew is “Messiah”). It means that Jesus is the one sent and anointed by God the Father for His mission of salvation. He was anointed as Prophet to preach the gospel, as Priest to offer Himself as the sacrifice for our sins, and as King to reign. He alone is able to reconcile sinful people to God through His sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection.
Jesus is the Lord
The same word is used in verses 9, 22, and 23 to refer to Jehovah God. What a mystery, yet true: the Savior born in Bethlehem is God in human flesh. If He had been only a man, He could not have died for the sins of the human race. If He had been an angel, He could not have borne human sins. But He was Christ the Lord—God! God alone is great enough to deal with our sins.
Jesus is a Man
He was born in Bethlehem. He didn’t descend from the sky, fully grown. He was conceived miraculously by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb and went through the stages of development just like any other human baby. What a wonder! As a man, the representative Man, He could bear the sins of the human race.
As God in human flesh, Jesus Christ is unique in all the world. He alone qualifies to be the Savior of the world. If you doubt the uniqueness of Jesus, I invite you to read the Gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) with an open heart, and you will be convinced that He can be nothing other than fully God and fully man united in one person. That makes the news He brings about salvation the best news in the world, “good tidings of great joy.”
The best part of this good news is not that it is for all people in general, but that it is for you personally: “unto you is born … a Saviour” (v. 11). That means that this good news requires a personal response. Each person must respond as these shepherds did. They didn’t say, “Wow, that was really some experience, seeing all those angels,” and sit there the rest of the night with their sheep. They didn’t sit around discussing theology after the angel spoke to them. They didn’t say, “Thanks for the news, but we’ve always believed this” and stay where they were at.
No, they responded to the news by believing what God had revealed to them through the angel. Their faith was demonstrated by their going straight to Bethlehem to see it for themselves and then returning, glorifying and praising God (vv. 15, 20). And what did they see? “Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger” (v. 16). No halo. No angels hovering there. Jesus didn’t look like a Savior. The place smelled like a barn, because that’s what it was. Very common, very simple. They could have scoffed and stumbled over it, as many do.
What about you? Will you scoff or stumble over the simple but profound message that the baby Jesus, born in Bethlehem, whose birth was announced by angels to these simple shepherds, is Christ the Lord, a Savior born for you? That is absolutely the best news in the world, no matter what your situation in life. Jesus didn’t leave heaven and come to this earth and go through the suffering of the cross just to give you a boost or a few tips on how to have a happy life. He knew that you desperately need a Savior. He alone can save you from the penalty of God’s wrath which is due to your sins.
—Steven J. Cole