Posted on December 25, 2019 at 7:00 AM
The angel who surprised some shepherds outside of Bethlehem
brought them good news. They were told that a baby had been born who would be a
savior and that they were being invited to go and see him. I suspect the
shepherds thought they deserved some good news. Things were not going very
well. They were living in a nation that had been conquered by Rome and the
recent requirement that everyone be registered in their hometown was for the
good of Rome, not for them. It is likely that the kind of savior they were
looking for was one who would save them from their Roman oppressors.
The shepherds answered the invitation and went to see this
baby who was going to be a savior and told Mary what the angel had told them.
Mary pondered this in her heart. She knew something the shepherds did not. She knew
that this baby, who the angel said would be the Messiah and Savior, was not an
ordinary child. He had been conceived miraculously by the Holy Spirit. She also
knew that an angel had told Joseph that they should name the baby Jesus because
he would save his people from their sins. That was a deeper good news than the
shepherds probably understood.
When we think of good news in medicine it commonly means
that a new more effective treatment has been developed or possibly that a disease
that previously had no effective treatment can now be cured. Those things are
good news, but however many new treatments are developed, we still all die.
The good news of Christmas gets at something deeper. The
Bible helps us understand that the reason that the diseases and death that
medicine battles exist in this world is because we and the world we live in are
broken by sin. No matter how many new treatments we develop, medicine cannot
address the underlying problem. The angel told the shepherds about the ultimate
cure. A savior had been born who could reverse the effects of sin and death and
save us from our sin. He could bring us eternal life. He did that by going to
the cross and showed his victory over sin and death by his resurrection. That
is good news.