Good Tidings of Great Joy
In a couple weeks we will be fully celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on the 25thof December. It’s a joyous time of year for most people, not all, but we would pray that it would be.
If you didn’t know, as I did a little research on the holiday, the name Christmas comes from the old English words Cristes Maesse meaning Christ’s Mass, or Mass on Christ’s Day. The name is Roman Catholic in nature, and as we know, Jesus was not born in December, but in September near the end of the month. But this holiday has been a growing holiday, not only in Christendom, but also in the secular world, but it always wasn’t that way. In our lifetimes and from our media it seems to be that way.
The Christmas celebration for the birth of Christ was first referred to in documents all the way back in AD 324, primarily from Roman documents, and a couple hundred years later, the Roman Emperor Justinian even recognized this day as an official Roman holiday.
An old Roman festival played a major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25 in ancient Rome was the pagan holiday, 'Dies Natali Invictus,' 'the birthday of the unconquered,' the day of the winter solstice which many pagans revel in, and at the same time in Rome, the last day of the Saturnalia, a celebration of the sun god Saturn which was a time of debauchery and a time when the priests of Saturn carried wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the Roman temples.
It was 300 years after Christ before the Roman Church kept Christmas, and not until the fifth century that it was mandated to be kept throughout the whole empire as an official festival honoring “Christ.” But notably, it wasn’t until the 9thCentury that Christmas began to be as important as Good Friday and Easter, and actually December 24thwas more important in early days even into the last century as Protestants as well as Roman Catholics held services then.
Today as we well know, Christmas has turned into a selling and purchasing holiday, where purchasing goods at sale prices is the norm as we purchase for presents or personal use.
Christ being an afterthought to most as the church has declined in influence for the most part.
And some have had conversations about the holiday, that the date is wrong for Jesus’ birth and there’s a a bunch of paganism in it and the season is so commercial, I get that, but still it is a time for the Name of Jesus, and the life of Jesus to be displayed, and spoken about, and a time for the church and believers to remember where they came from.
It is a time that some of the media does speak of the season as a time of reflection on the birth of Jesus Christ.
So let’s reflect as we get into the season. And I don’t know about you, but this season seems to come up too fast, and because of the hustle and bustle of life during this time, reflection can be hard, but we need to slow down and not only reflect just during this time of the season, but also be in daily reflection of our Savior sent by our Father in Heaven who was born of a virgin who would set people free of their sins and reconcile mankind back to God.
I reflect on the fact that our God, who loves us with an endless love, its eternal just as He is, already had a plan for a Savior immediately after the fall of man. God would send the One who would bruise Satan’s head, to return His creation back to a right relationship with Him.
If we turn to Genesis 2:14, “So the Lord God said to the serpent:”Speaking to the Satan who had just deceived the woman, “ I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed;(enmity means: “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.) He(meaning the Christ) shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heal.”
And God fulfilled His Word.
1 John 3:8, "The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work"
God in His love for mankind had set a way for man to be restored, and God through out His Word prepared His people for the coming Messiah who would save them from their sins.
God said through the Prophet Isaiah,
Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" Which is God with us!
God fulfilling His Word when the Angel of the Lord met with Mary the mother of Jesus.
Luke 1:35, "The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God"
God through the Prophets even told where the Christ would be born so His people would know of His coming.
Micah 2:4-6, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
And God fulfilled what He said as we read in Matthew 2:1-6.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. When had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 'In Bethlehem in Judea,' they replied, 'for this is what the prophet has written: "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
So God in His love for His creation, pronounced from the beginning of Creation that a Messiah would come. A Savior of the people. And He did come down, and he walked the earth and died and rose again so that we who were captive to this world would break free from it in His name.
This season which some call the Advent season is about the coming and arrival of Jesus Christ.
When the Angel of the Lord appeared to the Shepherds out in the fields, the Angels said, Luke 2:10-11, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
I bring you good tidings, the Angel brought the good news, and Jesus was all about good news. He wanted the good news to be preached. He wanted the good news to be spread, and not just in Jerusalem, and to just the Jews whom the Father sent Him to first, but to the whole earth. That Good News would be the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The word Gospel is the Greek word euaggelion and it means good news. So the Good news had come.
When the angels announced the birth of Jesus they said, “born to you this day, “a Savior.”” A Savior is someone who rescues you. It is someone who saves you from danger or destruction.
Jesus came to save mankind, as He was the man sent by God who brought salvation. Salvation is deliverance and liberation from the power and effects of sin. Jesus’ name is salvation.
In Luke 2:21, “And when eight days were fulfilled to circumcise the child, His name was called JESUS, the name called by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.”
Jesus is the English form of the Greek Iesous (ee-ay-sooce’). The Greek comes from the Aramaic short name Yeshu’a. Yeshu’a comes from the Hebrew Jehoshua (yeh-ho-shoo-ah) that means Jehovah saved, or God saves, but it also means God is salvation or rescues. Jehoshua comes from the word and name Jehovah.
So Jesus’ name comes out of His Father name, the God who saves, the God who brings salvation, and our Jesus did just that, because He and His Father are one, from His own lips in John 10:30.
The Angel when speaking to the Shepherds in Luke 2:11 also said that Jesus was “Christ the Lord.”
The word Christ, Christos in the Greek means Anointed, Christos from the word Chrio that means one who has oiled poured on him, one who is consecrated to an official office. In the Hebrew, Christ, or Christos is “Messiah” or as stated in John 1:41, “Messias” meaning the same thing Anointed or Anointed one.
The Angel said another stark word when speaking to the Shepherds that day. He said Christ the “Lord”. Yes Jesus was the Christ, He was God who saves our Savior, but He is also Lord.
The English word Lord from the Greek word Kurios (koo’-ree-os). One who is supreme in authority. The Controller, God, Lord and Master. The word means Supremacy. Jesus was the Supreme Lord of All. He is above every king, and kingdom, above all rule over all creation.
That is good news for God’s creation. God knew that to rescue His people, rescue creation, He had to send someone with the ultimate expression of Himself and it could only be His Son. No one else could fit the bill. No one else would have the authority and power to be able to overthrow God’s arch enemy, Satan with his supernatural army of devils.
Yes God could have just blasted everything into oblivion. He actually had the right to and He has the power.
But God is love as well as a God of justice, and so that none would perish because He gave man a free will, He would allow man to make a decision to follow Him. He would open a door for man to enter to come to Him in humility and repentance, and that door would be His Son.
God would also allow man to be a part of the restoration and would empower them through His Son to recover, and rebuild, and reclaim what Satan had stole and destroyed.
Man would receive power through the Son. Man would stand up to Satan’s darkness and in the power of the name of Iesous (ee-ay-sooce’), or Yeshu’a, or Jesus, or whatever name used in different languages, that we could bring the light of heaven to overcome the darkness and set creation free.
I would imagine that when Mary, the mother of Jesus was sitting there, and the Shepherds ran in and told her and Joseph what the Angel had said about Jesus, she had no clue who was laying in that bed of hay. Because it says “she wondered what it meant.”
That Baby was to change the whole culture of the earth because of His words and teachings, and the supernatural power He displayed from Heaven, allowing people to experience the Kingdom of God and be a part of it.
But because of what Jesus brought from heaven, he fulfilled Isaiah 9:2-4:
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; they rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For You have broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor,”
Continuing with verse 6:
“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be on His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. There is no end of the increase of His government and peace on the throne of David, and on His kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on, even forever. The zeal of Jehovah of Hosts will do this.”
The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will do this, God will make this happen and He is. There will be no end of the increase of His government, His authority, and in it comes peace for those who believe.
God because of His graciousness and lavished love for us sent His Son, who is Wonderful, who is our Counselor, who is the Prince of Peace, and who is God.
This Jesus proclaimed thousands of years ago that He would come, who has come, and for us, are waiting for the end of the age for Him. We who look forward to the end, because we will see Jesus, our Savior, our Messiah, and our Lord, and everything else He is to us in the Flesh knowing that our Redeemer has come and we will not walk in sickness anymore, nor have tears of anguish or pain, sin will not be an issue anymore, and we say amen to that. Yes our redemption draweth nigh and we look forward to that.
But in the mean time, we who follow our Messiah, the Prince of Peace, we worship Him, and from the outpouring of His Spirit, we bring peace, and we bring joy.
Remember what the Angels said to Shepherds? “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Those good tidings, or good news of great joy should be something we carry ourselves. We were not meant to be bogged down with the things of this world. Jesus came to set us free from that. We are to be a people who bring good tidings of great joy.
We should live in that joy, and be that joy, because in that joy is the same love that God had when He sent Jesus on this earth to redeem it for Him.
So let tonight be a night of joy, and if we do not have that joy, then lets pray for each other to experience that joy, and laughter and freedom that Christ freely gave to us.
Lets us know Jesus as He is. The anointed of God. Our Savior. The God of our Salvation, and our Lord. Because through titles and anointing God gave Him, we have been freely given opportunity to receive all that Jesus is, and receive all of the benefits that by Grace, He gives us. Those benefits are everything.
Colossians 2:9 “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
We are complete in Him. But I will close with this scripture: Ephesians 2:4-10.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
In the risen Christ we who believe have been raised together and made to sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That means now. And we at this time of the season in this age need to reinforce our belief of who we are in Jesus. The world is looking to us to reveal the Savior to them.
To bring good tidings of great joy, and love, and healing that we have received from the heavenly place so others can partake of it and be free too.
God gave Jesus away to us 2000 years ago, and now God expects us who have received Him, to give Him away too.