Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 12/09/20

The Good News Brings Peace

God is the expert at taking impossible situations and turning them into blessed possibilities.

STORY: Christmas Angels

As a child, I longed to be the angel in our church Christmas play. Everyone said Mary was the coveted role, but I disagreed. Mary had to wear a pregnancy belly covered by a drab gown. She endured a bumpy camel ride and hung out with the stinky animals in the stable. (At least she bore Jesus in a stable home!) She had few lines. In contrast, the angels wore glittery costumes complete with wings. They got to fly and sing. They had a recurring role in the play. And they were the ones who delivered the good news!

Let’s think about how the folks in biblical times responded to the visitation of angels.

First, Gabriel visited Zacharias. Through his story we learn God breathes hope into the stale air of impossible situations. Does anything seem hopeless to you today? God is the expert at taking impossible situations and turning them into blessed possibilities.

Second, Gabriel visited Mary. Mary’s was a response of faith. Even though Mary couldn’t understand everything, she willingly trusted God. If we walk with God, there will be times he asks us to do the incredible. Even though we don’t know the end result we need to step out in faith.

Third, an angel visited Joseph. That night an angel told Joseph he needed to be faithful to Mary regarding this suspicious pregnancy. Joseph obeyed, and brought Mary home to be his wife, trusting her word that she had been faithful to him. And with that decision he became the earthly father of the Son of God.

Fourth, the angels visited the shepherds. Theirs was a response of praise. These weren’t ordinary shepherds. In that time unblemished lambs were sacrificed in the temple as sin offerings. The temple authorities kept this flock in the hills surrounding Bethlehem. It’s fitting that the news of the One who would be a sacrifice for all was announced to those who tended these sacrificial sheep.

What is your reaction to learning of Jesus? Like Zacharias, do you entertain doubts? Are you speechless or dumbfounded when it comes to the things of the Lord? Perhaps, like Mary, your reaction to the news of Jesus is worship and humility. Maybe you are obedient to God’s direction in your life, like Joseph. Or perhaps, you come to God with fear and trembling, willing to follow, like the shepherds.

However you come to Jesus, come to him!

STUDY: Messengers of Peace

The Good News of the gospel brings new peace. It delivers peace to each believer who receives the gift of Good News. Angels, the official good news messengers, pronounced peace on earth as a result of the Christ’s birth. The life of Christ embodies this peace.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! (Isaiah 52:7 NLT)
  • We often define the gospel as good news.
  • This passage lists three ingredients of that good news. What are they?
Look! A messenger is coming over the mountains with good news! He is bringing a message of peace. Celebrate your festivals, O people of Judah, and fulfill all your vows, for your wicked enemies will never invade your land again. They will be completely destroyed! (Nahum 1:15 NLT)
  • The good news is a message of peace—a reason to celebrate, to fulfill all vows, and to know the enemy is defeated.
  • What enemies has God defeated in your life?
  • How does thinking about that victory bring peace in your heart and mind?
The messengers went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message. Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace. (Acts 15:30-33 NLT)
  • Have you ever received or given a blessing of peace?
  • What might that look like, and who might God have in mind for you to deliver such a blessing?
And 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 2:13-14 (NKJV).
  • What does peace on earth mean? Was it a proclamation of an immediate blessing or a promise for a future time?
  • Often this verse is quoted at Christmastime to mean extending goodwill toward each other, creating a peaceful environment to celebrate Christmas. That’s not wrong, but it’s not the message of this passage.
  • The angels were broadcasting that we need to glorify God, who is the highest of all. Why glorify him? Because he’s God. But also because he gave us true peace.
  • This peace comes as he delivers his goodwill toward us, through the gift of his Son.
  • The source of peace is through Jesus. It’s wrapped up in his birth cloths, in his death cloths—wrapped up in him.

STEPS: Extend the Good News of Peace

  1. Shine the spotlight on good news. Part of our job as Christ-followers is to extend the good news of peace rather than initiating or participating in conversations based on falsehoods, assumptions, and faithlessness. When we avoid highlighting bad news and instead shine the spotlight on good news, we help to create an atmosphere for peace.
  2. Serve up the good news of peace around you. Where will you begin?

Copyright © 2020 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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