Who knew about the special birth of Jesus, virgin conceived and born? Mary, without saying, was the first to know, and of course Joseph. Both were privileged to entertain angelic messengers announcing this arrival of the Son of God. At the blessed advent itself, honor and favor of knowledge would be extended to a group of lowly shepherds. Once again it is an angelic announcement, this time that a Savior has been born bringing good will to man. Magi from the East discerned the birth of the King of the Jews through a mysterious star. Their search for the child greatly disturbed the wicked king Herod. Both the old prophetess Anna, and the just and devout old Simeon, zealous for the heart of God, recognized the baby as their Jewish redeemer and a revelation for the Gentiles. Mary and Joseph were in wonder. Herod was wrathful. The rest were witnesses to the marvelous. Did they fully realize the implications of the One born in the prophesied little town of Bethlehem; who would be chastised in order to soothe their conscience, wounded and bruised to remedy their badness, be scourged for their healing, and die for the putting away of and release from the bondage of sins and sinning? (Micah 5:2, Isaiah 53)
Matthew and Luke recorded the miraculous conception and birth in their gospels. Mark and John did not. Of His boyhood, precious little is sacredly revealed or disclosed. Later it would not be His birth the other apostles preached, but rather the good news of repentance and resurrection. At last there was manifested the means of salvation from sin, and a pledge of bodily resurrection. Jesus had given His life for the one and defeated death and rose again in assurance of the other. (Romans 4:25) Those who were bitterly disillusioned at Gethsemane and the cross were now ready in all circumstances and persecutions to spread the good news. The first chapters of the book of Acts begin with working class apostles preaching Christ’s resurrection and man’s repentance. Within 70 years, some of them along with Paul and Luke would write letters and essays expounding upon this good news of the fixing of bent and broken men with what was initially called “the Way.” Their text of reference was the Holy Spirit of God. Why was it called gospel or good news? Why the excitement, the willingness for martyrdom? The Jews to whom they first preached had misunderstood the promised Messiah as revealed in the Hebrew Torah, Prophets, and Writings. They were aware of the Greek mythology of hellish torture, but equally dreadful, appalling, and horrendous to them was the knowledge of death bearing their descent to the abysmal Sheol, the grave, the land of Shadow; a meaningless, wandering, pseudo- existence of the soul. Why suddenly was there now this attraction of hope? The angel Gabriel gives answer to that in Matthew 1:21 - “Call His name Jesus for He shall save his people from their sins.” Mark begins his book, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” And so Paul writes in the 1st chapter of his letter to the Romans, “I am not ashamed of the gospel [good news] of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jews first and also for the Greeks.” For sin, shame, badness, bent-ness, guilt, inner-war, relationships, there is possible healing. That is good news. Today the Holy Spirit of God calls out to lead sincere seekers to the truth of hope. Hear ye, Hear ye.