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Advent 2000 -3- Joy for All People

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Reading: Luke 2:1-20
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 2:10 (NIV)


I’m Elias Ben-Judah; just a shepherd. A dull job, really. Until one otherwise average night long ago.

I.    A tale of two Peacemakers

      A.  Augustus began the Pax Romana

            1.   Luke gives us an accurate account

                   a.   I met Luke later when he was doing research for his book

                   b.   It was when Augustus & Quirinius ruled

            2.   Caesar A inaugurated an era of peace

                   a.   Augustus started the Pax Romana.

                   b.   Peace in Rome maybe, not here.

                   c.   If this is peace, who needs it.

            3.   Caesar’s peace is contrasted with God’s

                   a.   This is a tale of 2 peacemakers: Caesar and Jesus.

                   b.   Caesar’s peace is temporary , held up by violence and limited in time & place.

                   c.   I found peace beyond limits built on the love and selflessness of God

      B.  The angels celebrate a new Peace

            1.   The angel choir sings of peace to all (14)

                   a.   The angels sang of peace that night

                   b.   A whole army of angels!

                   c.   Talk about a peace song!

            2.   A peace to outlast the Pax Romana

                   a.   Some thought it would last forever

                   b.   We never thought it even started!

                   c.   This Anointed Savior was going to bring a lasting peace.

            3.   Peace from God for His people.

                   a.   This is going to be God’s peace

                   b.   It’s for the people of the blessing

                   c.   Us! All those who call on Him.

II.   The angels announce Joy

      A.  Do not be Afraid

            1.   We “feared a great fear” (lit.)

                   a.   Angels are fierce creatures.

                   b.   We were scared out of our wits!

                   c.   Have you ever had to face purity? Holiness? power? All wrapped up

            2.   Fear controls much of human existence

                   a.   The Romans used fear for control

                   b.   Most of us live timid lives afraid of embarrassment, poverty, death.

                   c.   John said love drives out fear, because fear is about punishment.

            3.   Did saying “Do not be afraid” work?

                   a.   I don’t know, all I can say is that I remember every word he said.

                   b.   I wasn’t thinking about my fear, but about what he was saying.

      B.  Good new of Great joy!

            1.   In place of great fear: Great joy!

                   a.   The angel brings good news

                   b.   When you’re a shepherd, you learn to expect bad news.

                   c.   But this is good news of great joy!

            2.   The news and the joy is for everyone!

                   a.   We knew it was news for us.

                   b.   It’s good & joyful news for you too!

                   c.   It’s good & joyful for all who want it

      C.  A Savior is born to us!

            1.   A Savior who is anointed Lord is here!

                   a.   A deliverer! A king!

                   b.   We were ready to get behind a new king and let him lead us!

                   c.   A king announced with angels! Imagine his kingdom!

            2.   The sign: wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger

                   a.   I didn’t get this at first. Sure the manger was unusual.

                   b.   He was buried wrapped up too.

                   c.   When he got out of those burial cloths, we understood this sign

III.  The joy of Finding Jesus

      A.  Let’s go see for Ourselves

            1.   It’s not enough just to hear about it!

                   a.   The angels said their piece and were gone as quickly as they came

                   b.   We had to go see it.

                   c.   You don’t hear a choir of angels and just say Yeah its probably true.

            2.   We hurried off and found them!

                   a.   Bethlehem’s not that big! News of a baby travels fast, even at night!

                   b.   We found them! Mary, Joseph, just in from Galilee & the others.

            3.   A savior in a manger.

                   a.   There he was: a Savior, anointed Lord all wrapped up like a present.

                   b.   They said his name would be Jesus, Yeshua, or Joshua in our language.

                   c.   It means deliverer and we needed a new Joshua to cleanse the land.

      B.  Let’s Share what we know

            1.   We told everyone what we’d be told

                   a.   You can’t keep good news to yourself!

                   b.   We told everyone there what we heard

                   c.   Bethlehem was buzzing with the story of the “crazy shepherds.”

            2.   People didn’t know what to make of it!

                   a.   Angels appear to people like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Elijah, Daniel

                   b.   Angles don’t appear to shepherds.

                   c.   And this, about a boy born before the couple is even married?

            3.   Mary hung on every word and wondered about them in her heart.

                   a.   She listened to us like she believed us

                   b.   An angel appeared to her and Joseph too with a similar message.

                   c.   We traded angel stories and wondered, especially Mary.

      C.  Let’s Praise God for what we know!

            1.   We returned to the fields praising God!

                   a.   We were beside ourselves that God announced His message to us!

                   b.   We were ecstatic that God had given us someone to deliver us from oppression

                   c.   You never heard a bunch of rough necked shepherds sound so religious!

            2.   Ever since being entrusted with that message, joy is a constant companion.

                   a.   You don’t forget a message like that.

                   b.   You don’t forget a joy like that.

                   c.   In fact, the joy has grown since then & deepened as I’ve come to understand

            3.   Do you know this message? This joy?!

                   a.   The joy didn’t come from the angels but the message they brought.

                   b.   A deliverer is born, anointed Lord to deliver us all from all oppression.

                   c.   A Savior who gives to us the promised land of God’s blessing, God’s presence

                   d.   To know that, to really know it, is to live with unquenchable joy in our hearts.

The Bottom Line:

Go and Find Him. Go and Share Him. Wherever you go, Praise Him.

(HoR: R#171 Joy to the World v.1)

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