Published December 18, 2012

Paul's Epistle...
"The Gospel of Great Joy"

How many times – especially during the Christmas season – have you heard the familiar words of Luke 2:10, as an angel told some startled shepherds that the Messiah had been born: "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people."

That particular rendering is from the King James Version. But the other day when I heard someone on the radio quoting from a newer translation, they quoted the angel as saying, "I bring you good news of great joy..."

"Good news!" That struck me — because we're always reminded that "Gospel" means "good news."

Here the angel was presenting to the shepherds the good news – the Gospel!

And, yes, "good news" is an accurate translation. The Greek term used here does actually mean to bring good news. But it also stems from the same root – a very closely related word – as does the word we translate "evangelize."

If we are fully to embrace what the angel was telling those shepherds, we will realize that the Gospel had been born in the flesh that night in Bethlehem. We will realize that His coming was to bring great joy to the world. And we will realize that the Gospel would, indeed, be for "all people."

But there is something else here to consider. If the angels were, in this sense, the first "evangelists," then we are to continue that process by being evangelists ourselves. How do we do that? By spreading the Gospel – the message of Salvation in Christ. The shepherds did. After finding the Christ-child, the shepherds "made known abroad" what the angels had told them about this child – the Lord (Luke 2:17). One must assume that, in short order, there was not one person in the entire Bethlehem region that didn't hear this miraculous story.

During this Christmas season – not exclusively, but especially – tell others about Christ. Tell others about that great joy that He came to place in the hearts of mankind. Tell them how He has done that for you. Don't pass by any opportunity to remind others that He came for them, too – and for all people.

Glad tidings! Good news! That is the Gospel of great joy!

Angels aren't delivering that message anymore. God has turned over that responsibility to us. (Mark 16:15.) Now it's your turn. Who can you tell today?

- Paul

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