Thursday, December 19, 2013

Advent Day 19: Good News of Great Joy

- The first announcement of the Messiah's birth was given by an angel to some unknown shepherds. They were considered outcasts in Israel. This demonstrated the beautiful grace of God toward mankind. The poor/the lowly/ the plain/the ordinary, not the rich and mighty were given an honor to hear about the good news first.
- The Messiah came to be both the Good Shepherd (John 10) and the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Therefore, it seemed fitting that the good news about God's Shepherd and Lamb be given first to humble shepherds.
- The good news is for everyone, not just for the Jews. This good news will cause great joy. The good news is that God had sent a Savior to meet our greatest need (being healed & delivered from sin and making peace with God).
- Jesus Christ is a Savior from sin. He is the Messiah, the promised Deliverer. And He is the Lord. "For us there is but one God, the Father, from Whom all things came and for Whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all things came and through Whom we live." (1 Corinthians 8:6)
- A great company of angels joined the first angel in praising God. Our response to Christ's birth should be wonder (like the shepherds) and worship (like the angels).
- The purpose of the salvation plan is "glory to God"! "To the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves...In Him we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him Who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory...When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:6, 11-12, 13b-14)
- God's glory had dwelt in the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34) and in the temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-3), but had departed because of the nation's sin. Now God's glory was returning to earth in the Person of His Son. "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
- Peace is given to those whom God is inclined to favor. Shalom (peace) means much more than a truce. It means well-being, security, soundness, and completeness. It has to do more with character than circumstances. "Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ." (~Sheila Walsh) Peace is calmness in our heart no matter what's going on around us, knowing that God is always in control. Peace is soul at rest in Christ. The peace that Jesus gives us is out of this world (John 14:27)!

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