Good News! (Luke 2:8-15)

    • when I drive my car these days, I inevitably have my radio on, and it’s usually tuned to CFRB
    • Michael Coren has a commercial on that, whenever I hear it, I turn it up
    • I’ve heard it so many times – and Christina has heard it too – that we practically know it off by heart
    • Michael Coren is extolling the virtues of an automobile leasing company, and has brought in his children for some help
    • he asks his daughter, Lucy, what she thinks of Auto Depot
    • “In my opinion, it’s absolutely fantastic!”
    • he asks his son, Daniel, what he thinks, and gets pretty much the same answer
    • I remember the first time I heard this ad, and I was getting pretty shocked
    • how dare this man use his children to promote a car company?
    • but then he asks his four-year-old son, Oliver, what he thinks of using children in advertising
    • and his son says, “Bad news, Daddy!”
    • a little while later I heard Michael begin to get a bit heated as he was expressing his opinion, and everyone else around the table was turning against him
    • in the sound booth, just for a bit of comic relief, the producer inserted the sound clip: “Bad news, Daddy!”
    • as I mentioned, Christina has heard this so many times that she too has taken to telling me, “Bad news, Daddy!”
    • have you heard enough bad news?
    • have you?
    • my mother’s car was stolen this week not too far from here
    • as I listened to the news I heard of two other cars being robbed at gunpoint, and even the Attorney General of our province had his car stolen
    • have you heard enough bad news?
    • on Friday I received a call from the Toronto Star
    • it seems that every other week they call me and offer me home delivery of their newspaper
    • and every time I say no
    • I don’t need to read any more bad news than I already do
    • let me tell you: there’s enough bad in this world that if we wanted to be completely depressed, we’d have every reason to be!
    • bad news appears to be all there is, or it certainly outnumbers the good news!
    • this morning I’m going to give you some good news for a change
    • this good news is so profoundly important that it is bigger and stronger than all the bad news in your life
    • I’d ask that you open your Bibles with me to a familiar passage found in Luke 2
    • we’re going to look at this story with fresh eyes and see if we can find some good news in there to encourage ourselves
    • read with me:
    • (Luke 2:8) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
    • (Luke 2:9) An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
    • THE FIRST GOOD NEWS I HAVE FOR YOU IS THAT CHRISTMAS IS FOR NOBODIES
    • do you ever feel like a nobody?
    • one of my favorite pages in the weekend paper is the society page
    • it has pictures and descriptions of events that recently took place in Toronto that I didn’t even know about
    • I certainly wasn’t invited to them!
    • it shows wonderful pictures of people in expensive clothes – people that I don’t know at all
    • but they all seem to know each other
    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person I know personally on those pages
    • why?
    • I think I’m hanging out with the wrong crowd!
    • I’m a nobody
    • I might be somebody to my family and friends, but in society’s pecking order, I’m a nobody
    • when we read in Luke 2 that angels appeared to shepherds living out in the fields nearby, I think the question we’re supposed to ask is, “The angels appeared to whom? Did I hear you say shepherds?”
    • I have it on pretty good authority that the shepherds never appeared on the society pages of the Jerusalem Post
    • God revealed his Son, but not to those we might expect
    • Jesus’ birth was announced to shepherds in the fields
    • these might have been the shepherds who cared for the lambs who supplied the temple sacrifices
    • but they were not very high on the pecking order
    • the Pharisees of that time said there were six professions that were unworthy
    • one of those was being a shepherd
    • their reputation was that they were untrustworthy
    • you could not even use their testimony for legal matters
    • shepherds in that time were usually very young, just as David in the Old Testament was only a boy
    • don’t forget – the greatest event in history had just happened
    • the Messiah had been born!
    • the Jews had waited for centuries for the Messiah to come
    • but when the big event finally occurred, it was announced to ordinary shepherds
    • this is the good news
    • Jesus does not come to those of society; he does not come to the well-heeled or to those of position
    • he comes to all, including the plain and ordinary
    • no extraordinary qualifications are needed – Jesus comes to you just as you are
    • the birth of Jesus was not announced to the elite in Jerusalem – it was announced to ordinary folk like you and me
    • that’s good news!
    • read on with me
    • (Luke 2:10) But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
    • (Luke 2:11) Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
    • (Luke 2:12) This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
    • there’s more good news
    • THE NEWS IS THIS: WE HAVE A SAVIOR
    • when the angel appears to the shepherds, they react just like every other person reacted who ever saw an angel
    • like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Jeremiah, Daniel, Zechariah, and Mary, they were terrified
    • and the angel said what almost every angel says after scaring the shoes off human beings: “Don’t be afraid”
    • but this angel brought a special announcement, something he called “good news of great joy that shall be to all people”
    • I don’t think you could say it much stronger than that
    • it’s good news; it’s going to bring great joy; and it’s for all the people
    • as Eugene Peterson translates it, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody worldwide”
    • the announcement is this: a Savior is born; a Savior who is Messiah and Master
    • we don’t use the word savior much today
    • we know what it means: someone who saves
    • most Jews would have thought that a savior would be a political leader who would deliver them from Roman rule
    • others might have thought of the savior delivering them from sickness and hardship
    • but here we have the best news of all: a Savior is born who delivers us from sin and death
    • while he established a spiritual kingdom and healed diseases, his work is far more wide-reaching than we could have imagined
    • these days people tend to reduce things to the temporal and physical
    • when Jesus came, he could have brought political peace, and delivered Israel from Roman rule
    • he could have fed all the hunger and healed all the diseases
    • but our greatest problem isn’t physical or political: it’s spiritual
    • there’s a Christmas card that says:
    • If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so he sent us a Savior.”
    • did you hear that?
    • our greatest need is forgiveness
    • and that’s why the angel’s message is such good news
    • a little boy wrote a letter to Santa and said:
    • “Dear Santa: There are three boys living at my house. Jeffrey is two, David is four, and Norman is seven. Jeffrey is good some of the time, David is good some of the time, and Norman is good all of the time. I am Norman.”
    • well, I’ve got news for you
    • you are not Norman
    • you do not bat .1000
    • we all live with a sense of regret because we are not perfect
    • the Bible tells us that:
    • (Romans 3:10) As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
    • (Romans 3:23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    • but the Bible also tells us:
    • (Acts 10:43) Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
    • I heard a lifeguard describe his experience in saving people from drowning
    • he said that every lifeguard knows that as long as they’re trying to save themselves, because then they’ll take the lifeguard underwater with them
    • the lifeguard said that when he swims out to them, he has to wait until they stop flailing around in the water
    • when they finally give up, it’s really easy to reach over, pull their arm over your shoulder, and swim back to shore
    • there’s nothing to it
    • but you can’t save them as long as they’re trying to save themselves
    • our problem is that we either don’t recognize we’re drowning, or if we do, we try to save ourselves
    • there are many people who don’t realize that they need a Savior
    • and there are many others who know they do, but they end up trying to save themselves
    • they say, “Look, God, my good works are this high. My bad works are this low. Looks like I get into heaven”
    • but God says, in effect, “Only perfect people need apply for a perfect place”
    • you need a Savior
    • and that Savior has come to us lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling cloths
    • this Savior was born to us in the city of David
    • and he’s given to us as a free gift
    • and that’s good news
    • the angels continued their message:
    • (Luke 2:13) Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
    • (Luke 2:14) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
    • one more bit of good news:
    • JESUS BRINGS PEACE
    • I talked to somebody at a Christmas party this week
    • this individual is in his mid 30’s and already in his third career
    • he loves his job, but he says that he has time for almost nothing
    • he’s working like a dog, and he hopes that by the time he’s 50 or 60, he will have reached his goal in life: contentment; peace
    • the world is looking for peace
    • for some this means drinking until they’re so drunk, they don’t feel the pain anymore
    • for others, it means going from relationship to relationship, hoping that someday someone will fill that void in their life
    • for others, it means working so hard that they never have to think about their lives
    • but peace is something that we all need, and not later in life – we need peace now
    • when Jesus was born, the angels said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
    • if you read the Gospels, you find that those who met Jesus had their lives transformed, and ultimately found peace
    • the tax-collector who spent his life making money dishonestly? he paid back what he had stolen and then some, and followed Jesus
    • the women found in the act of adultery? she received forgiveness and was told to go and sin no more
    • the fishermen who were invited to follow Jesus? they found a cause to live for, and ultimately a cause to die for
    • no matter what happened in their lives, God gave them the strength to handle it
    • Paul wrote:
    • (Philippians 4:6) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
    • (Philippians 4:7) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    • that’s the good news
    • that Christmas is for nobodies
    • that we have been given a Savior to meet our greatest need: forgiveness
    • and that this Savior, Jesus, brings peace: peace with God, and peace within our hearts
  • some of you might recognize your need for forgiveness
  • you’ve been trying to save yourself
  • you might understand your need for peace
  • that forgiveness and that peace is available to you this morning, free of charge
  • you can receive the most priceless gift you’ve ever received; one that you can’t even by at Sherway Gardens
  • you can have your past forgiven
  • God can clean up your past, take care of your present, and secure your future
  • it’s the gift you can only receive from the babe in the manger who grew up to be the man on the cross, the one who died for your sins
  • if you would like to receive this gift, the time is now
  • and that, my friends, is good news
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Liberty Grace Church in Toronto. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada