On the night of Jesus birth an astonishing announcement was made to a shepherd audience: “Do not be afraid. Listen, I am here to announce joyous great news to every single person on earth. Today, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord, is born in the City of David…Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will, delight and kindness to every single person.”
What an amazing announcement! In the coming of Jesus, God is declaring peace and His good intention towards every single human being. His very first words to us are, “Do not to be afraid”.
There is no need to be afraid of God. In Jesus he declares His unconditional love for us. By definition love refers to His esteem, His high regard, His intrinsic value for us. God considers us (no matter what we feel about Him or what we have done) so valuable to Him that He was willing to exchange His most valuable treasure (His own Son, the apple of His eye) to demonstrate His deep love for us. First John 4:18 as expressed in the Living Bible says, “We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; his perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what he might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what he might do to us, and shows that we are not fully convinced that he really loves us.” As we embrace this love, we find our fear of Him dissipating. The deeper we embrace His love, the more this experienced love drives fear from our hearts. How awesome is that!
The message reaffirms this when all the angels declare God’s peace and good will to you and to me. Peace is not just a feeling of tranquility; it is a feeling of tranquility that comes from a deep sense of harmony with God, of security, safety, joy, and prosperity. His good will towards us is speaking of how He feels about us (delight, pleasure, satisfaction and longing for) and His intentions toward us (good will, kindly intent, benevolence). God is saying that He has deep, passionate, positive feelings for us.
God did not stop there with just words, but He powerfully demonstrated His feelings for us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to become a human being just like us. In that fact alone, He identified with us. “God loved each each and every one of us in the world so much, that he gave his one and only begotten Son, so that whoever puts their trust in him will not experience destruction, but instead should experience the same quality of life that God experiences.” John 3:16 My paraphrase.
He became one of us. “He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death– and the worse kind of death at that–a crucifixion.” Philippians 2:6-8 TMB.
After living a human life experiencing what we experience, He took it even further. He willingly went to the cross and became all our sin. “God made Jesus, who never experienced sin (i.e. missing the mark), to be sin instead of us, so that we might be made the righteousness (the state of what one should be) of God.”
In every way that each one of us missed the mark of what God had intended us to be, all our failures, arrogant and prideful choices, every negative aspect of our lives and the subsequent consequence of loneliness, worthlessness, shame, destruction, pain, sickness, disease, lack, despair, disharmony, judgment, etc., He became that on the cross. There he experienced to its full extent the awful wrath of God against each one of those sins. He became and experienced all that on cross for every single one of us and in exchange we each became everything He was. In this way He delivered each one of us from ourselves and what we deserved so that we can experience what God truly feels and intends for us: a quality of life that comes from experiencing His unconditional love.
This is not some Christmas sentiment. This is His doxa, His view and opinion, for us. This is reality! Allow yourself to embrace this love. Consider it; wrap yourself in it; let it fill your imagination. Experiencing His love and accepting all that Jesus accomplished for us is the way to experiencing all that God declares is ours in Jesus.
This is His Doxa for us: “I am loved by God right now. I am highly valued. He holds me in high regard. He esteems me. He intends nothing but good towards me. He thinks the best of me; He believes in me. He holds nothing back from me. He has already provided everything I need to experience the quality of life He enjoys. He is not my enemy, He is my closest friend. He is the daddy I never had. In Him, I lack nothing; I am safe and secure. Though the storms of life are all around me, in Him I am in the eye of the storm. Because He loves me so intensely, I am not afraid.”
How does this astonishing announcement at Jesus’ birth impact you when you hear it?