Good News of Great Joy

KEY VERSE: “I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.” —Luke 2:10


GOD brought forth his creation with rejoicing. His Word declares “For thou host created all things and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. 4:11) His fellow-workers rejoiced with him when the foundations of the earth were laid. “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.”—Job 38:4-7

But there came a day when these joyful sounds fell silent in heaven. One of these trusted sons corrupted his wisdom by reason of his brightness (Ezek. 28:17), and plunged earth’s perfect creation into the darkness and despair of sin. As time went on, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth and it grieved him at his heart.”—Gen. 6:5,6

While God’s sympathy went out to his human creation subjected to this long experience of pain, sickness, suffering, evil, and death, he could still rejoice in its far-reaching, eternal purpose of making them a stronger and wiser people.

What joy it must have brought to the Heavenly Father’s heart when yet another of his trusted sons was willing to set aside his great riches in the heavenly realm, to be brought into this darkened world to suffer its poverty and alienation, that we through his poverty might be rich.—II Cor. 8:9

This joy Jehovah wished to share with mankind on the night his beloved son made an entrance into this world. And he sent his angel out on the darkened plain of Israel where suddenly he appeared before shepherds, bathing them in the light of the glory of God, and they were “sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, … for unto you is born this day … a savior which is Christ the Lord.” And with this announcement the joy in heaven could not be contained, “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”—Luke 2:9-11,13,14

The babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger was the token of God’s goodwill toward men—a babe destined to be mankind’s savior, and a great king restoring peace on earth, and bringing songs of rejoicing again to God’s works of creation. Yes, a great step forward had been taken in God’s program for man’s recovery, and while the weary world still lay in ignorance, the angels knew and were glad.

During his earthly ministry, Jesus spoke parables designed to give us an idea of the great interest there is in heaven over the events which fulfill God’s purposes on earth. One such was the parable of the lost sheep. When the sheep that had gone astray was found, the shepherd greatly rejoiced, and arriving home he gathered his friends and neighbors and, announcing his success, said, “Rejoice with me for I have found my sheep.” Jesus said, “Likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.”—Luke 15:10

He also told of a woman who, after a diligent search, found a lost coin, and calling her friends and her neighbors, asked them to share her rejoicing. Jesus said: “Likewise I say unto you there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”—Luke 15:10

While the heavenly hosts could appreciate the good tidings of that important night, the glory of God and the promise of peace were soon lost to a dark, deaf, and troubled world. Down through the centuries, those who have remembered could well have thought that God has forgotten about peace on earth; and so it seems today.

The Apostle Peter reminds us that “God is not slack concerning his promises.” (II Pet. 3:9) The promise of a savior was fulfilled some four thousand years after God’s first statement of the matter. Should we despair that his coming, nearly two thousand years ago, will eventually bring peace? No, we have God’s Word: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulders … and he shall be called The Prince of Peace. … Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. … The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”—Isa. 9:6,7

Good tidings indeed!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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