Have you heard the news?
Luke 1:26-38 / Matthew 1:18-25
News – we have news channels all over the T.V. – CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, NEWS8. We have papers galore – The Times, The Post, The Messenger and the Journal, the National Enquirer. You can even get news updates on your pager or your cell phone. And you know what? The largest majority of it isn’t good. And when it is good it isn’t significant, nor is it of any lasting value.
But all that information never really changes our lives. We don’t do anything with it because we are either too lazy or we know that in a few days it will all change anyway and CNN will let us know when it does. Truth is, we want to hear the good news, but only if there is bad news to go with it. And given a choice between good news and bad news, we’ll take the bad news every time.
Broadcaster, Paul Harvey’s own network once tried broadcasting a program devoted solely to good news. The program survived 13 weeks. Evidently, the good news people say they want is news they just won’t buy. But one breaking news story has never changed. In 2001 years it has remained real and relevant. It was so important an announcement that there has only been one other announcement similar that has ever superseded it.
This announcement – the one that Mary would hear and that Joseph would dream had in it all the good, all the promise that God had ever given. This news worthy event could NOT be moved to the middle section and given a spot surrounded by advertisements… This news was front page, masthead, red-letter, history making news.
This is the news – HE IS COMING! A child, A ruler, A righteous judge, The Alpha and Omega, Yeshua, The Savior, The Bright and Morning star, The Blessed Hope, The Bread of Life, The Living Water, The Redeemer, Our Shield and Defender, The Good Shepherd.
Or, as the Angel of the Lord put it, “A Savior, Christ the Lord.”
This is good news, news that empowers us to a ministry and discipleship that remembers why Jesus came to earth: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among men.”
This announcement contains the promise fulfilled and three distinct yet magnificent truths…
Its Not just news worthy – but Truly Worthy – Because -
This child is the SON of MAN - fully human.
This announcement was not about MARY or JOSEPH.
Why would this be important? For if He wasn’t then He would never understand. If God would not come to earth in this human form He could not say that He truly understood what you and I go through.
As the writer of Hebrews in 2:17-18 put it -“Therefore, He had to be made like His brothers in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
This child is fully human so that He could truly be the high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
This child is the SON of GOD – fully divine. God would use the ORDINARY to usher in the EXTRODINARY.
How could this one who would be called IMMANUEL be any other but GOD. The Son of the Most High, the Son of God would come through an ordinary girl. This too is vitally important – that He is God incarnate - Jesus is the High Priest we need. He is holy, good, and without sin. He is lifted high above the heavens, separated from sinners. (Hebrews 7:26)
If He were not to be the Son of God then the very thing He came to do could not be done. One who was not holy, set apart, sinless, the Son Of God could not be what the Angel promised Joseph and Mary. For they were told…
This child is the SAVIOUR– Jesus - It is GOD Himself with us. Fully man and yet fully God.
The meaning of the name Jesus was not lost on the people of the day. They knew what it meant, they know that it referred back to the Old Testament promise of a Savoir. This child, fully human and yet fully God would be the Messiah, the Christ, the Saviour.
Dorothy Sayers, a British writer of a generation or so ago, rebuked the church with some really stinging words. She said, "you have the greatest good news on earth -- the incarnation of God in human life -- and you treat it as an insignificant news item fit for page 14 of the chronicle of daily events!" Her rebuke is still accurate.
Yet the response that Mary and Joseph followed with is the same response that you are called to give. The question is not whether the Good News is relevant any longer (it surely is) but whether it is possible that man has undergone such a restructuring of his consciousness that does not allow him to do anything with the Good News.
Its Not only fit to print but it is fit to live…
They ACCEPTED God’s announcement.
Joseph and Mary both openly accepted the news of what was about to happen – BUT in a very real sense, it was the theology of Joseph, which made possible the first Christmas. If Joseph had not cooperated with God’s action in human history, the birth of Jesus would have been quite different. The witness of Joseph calls you to cooperate with God’s work in today’s world. It calls you to respond to God’s action among us. It calls you to accept the fact that this Child is indeed God-man, Saviour.
They responded with a RADICAL, yet COMPLETE submission.
Why was what they did so radical? Because culturally they went against the grain of what a man was supposed to do in a case like this. Joseph even contemplated to himself that doing the divorce thing was what he would do. And even after the angel spoke with him he could have still gone through with the divorce.
Even today submitting to Christ for some will be a radical step, it doesn’t follow society.. you will not be going with the "flow."
But yet Joseph and Mary both submitted completely to the news they had been given and in doing so…
They showed us HEROIC faith.
Yes, heroic! Think about it. Joseph would be the butt of all kinds of jokes, taking a wife who was pregnant and him swearing it wasn’t His. Fingers’ pointing at Mary as she walked down the street, visibly heavy laden with a child she said was God’s baby.
And even today when you make a statement that you are a believer, a radically submitted disciple you are stepping up with heroic faith. Yes when you act on the truth that this Child is the Saviour, when you treat this holiday season the way it should be, then you must exhibit heroic faith.
And because of their response – Their LIFE would NEVER be the same.
Everything after that day would change all their plans, all their decisions. Yes they would have the heartaches of a parent, but theirs would be intensified. But their decision would not only effect their lives but yours and mine also.
When you accepted this child then everything about your life will change. You don’t live for you, you live for HIM! Oh, you will have to go through some of the same things you might have had to before – but this time you won’t be alone and it won’t be for you… either way I can promise you that your life won’t be the same once you take this news into your life.
Oh, and that announcement that superseded this one? It would come from another angel – and the news would be very similar to the first… HE IS ALIVE!
God still announces His Son to you today – what will you do with that news?