PROCLAIM JOY TO THE WORLDFrom The Heart
Publish date: 12/25/2011
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:8-14 NKJV
At Jesus’ birth, the angels announced good news to the shepherds and told them that it was a message of joy to ALL people – ALL nations! Jesus was born to bring salvation, deliverance, healing, peace and joy to ALL people, from every nation – no one is excluded – anyone who believes in Him will experience this salvation and JOY! Before the Lord does anything, He announces it – He might send angels, but usually He prophesies it through people, who are anointed by the Holy Spirit.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the unborn baby inside her jumped, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she said to Mary, “God has blessed you more than any other woman. And God has blessed the baby you will have. 43 You are the mother of my Lord, and you have come to me! Why has something so good happened to me? 44 When I heard your voice, the baby inside me jumped with joy. 45 Great blessings are yours because you believed what the Lord said to you! You believed this would happen.” Luke 1:41-45 ERV
Jesus Christ was still a baby in His mother’s womb when John – himself still in his mother’s belly – leaped for joy in His presence. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit – she knew that there was a special baby in her cousin’s womb and she prophesied over Mary.
Then Mary said, 47 “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. 48 I am not important, but he has shown his care for me, his lowly servant. From now until the end of time, people will remember how much God blessed me. 49 Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His name is very holy. 50 He always gives mercy to those who worship him. 51 He reached out his arm and showed his power. He scattered those who are proud and think great things about themselves. 52 He brought down rulers from their thrones and raised up the humble people. 53 He filled the hungry with good things, but he sent the rich away with nothing. 54 God has helped Israel—the people he chose to serve him. He did not forget his promise to give us his mercy. 55 He has done what he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.”
Luke 1:46-55 ERV
Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied herself of the great things God had done and the great things He was about to do!
Then Zechariah, John’s father, was filled with the Holy Spirit and told the people a message from God: 68 “Praise to the Lord God of Israel. He has come to help his people and has given them freedom. 69 He has given us a powerful Savior from the family of his servant David. 70 This is what he promised through his holy prophets long ago. 71 He will save us from our enemies and from the power of all those who hate us. 72 God said he would show mercy to our fathers, and he remembered his holy agreement. 73 This was the promise he made to our father Abraham, 74 a promise to free us from the power of our enemies, so that we could serve him without fear 75 in a way that is holy and right for as long as we live. 76 “Now you, little boy, will be called a prophet of the Most High God. You will go first before the Lord to prepare the way for him. 77 You will make his people understand that they will be saved by having their sins forgiven. 78 “With the loving mercy of our God, a new day from heaven will shine on us. 79 It will bring light to those who live in darkness, in the fear of death. It will guide us into the way that brings peace.” Luke 1:67-79 ERV
Zechariah did not believe the angel that God would give him and Elizabeth a son called John, so he was unable to utter a word, until John was born and he wrote on a tablet, “His name is John.” Suddenly his tongue was loosed, he was anointed by the Holy Spirit, and he prophesied about the Messiah and about John, who was anointed to go before the Messiah and proclaim His coming.
A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good man who was devoted to God. He was waiting for the time when God would come to help Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. 26 The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before he saw the Christ from the Lord. 27 The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. So he was there when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to do what the Jewish law said they must do. 28 Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: 29 “Now, Lord, you can let me, your servant, die in peace as you said. 30 I have seen with my own eyes how you will save your people. 31 Now all people can see your plan. 32 He is a light to show your way to the other nations. And he will bring honor to your people Israel.”
Luke 2:25-32 ERV
Simeon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, recognized the Messiah when he saw Him and prophesied of the Lord’s salvation to all nations. This was his life’s calling!
In this day and hour, you and I have the privilege to join all these illustrious people – and even the very angels of God – to proclaim God’s goodness and mercy – to proclaim that the Messiah has come to every heart and nation and that His salvation and free favors profusely abound to anyone who will believe and call out to Him in faith!