An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Thanks to the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, I think that we’ve all probably heard some version of this before. It’s the part of the Christmas story where the angel announces for the first time that Jesus has been born and that he is the long awaited Messiah. He is the one who was to come. And the first people to hear it were shepherds. Lowly shepherds who had probably never been recognized as important receive the most important message in the world. The Savior has been born and this news is for all the people.
The problem with this passage is that we have such a hard time living it out. We want the Good News to be for all the people we like, or all the people who aren’t weird, or even for all the people who look like me. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus brings the good news to people who would have been neglected or even the outcasts of society. If we were one of the disciples we would have been thinking, “Surely not him or her, Lord. You mean we need to take the Gospel to them, too?”
Recently, Westbrook went through a series called God for the Rest of Us based on the book by Vince Antonucci. The message of the book and our series is that God really is for all people. Vince is a pastor in Las Vegas. It’s a place filled with people that most of us wouldn’t even consider sharing the Gospel with because they are too sinful or different for our tastes. The amazing thing is, however, as you read through Vince’s stories you find one amazing testimony after another of how God is in fact for prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, pornographers, addicts, homeless, and everyone else.
This is the season of year where we all think about how nice it would be to have peace on earth. The problem is that we don’t work towards it. We don’t let the message be for all peoples. We want the message to be for me and my people and you have to be, act, or even look like my people for it to be for you. The season of Advent, however, reminds us that God is truly for the rest of us. Advent is also the season when we remember that not only God came, but he is coming again. When he comes, we will get to see that he was and is for all people. Revelation tells us that those around God’s throne are from every nation, tribe, people and language. Advent reminds us that God’s good news is for all the people and not just the ones we want to share it with. If you’re not sure that God is for everyone or for you, then read God for the Rest of Us.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received God for the Rest of Us free from Tyndale. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”