“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’” (Luke 2:10) This verse is a beautiful reminder, given to us in God’s Word, that Jesus came to establish his church for all the nations. But what does “all” mean? Does it mean everyone? Well that couldn’t be the case, because in verse 14, we see the angels speaking in more exclusive terms, saying that the peace that Jesus would bring is for “those with whom he is pleased.” So, the “all” in verse 10 must then refer to all kinds of people.
As a child, I learned this truth through the song, “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
I’m guessing many of you may have sung this little song as children, too. My question though is this…do we really want our churches to love all kinds of people? Or, do we want a church full of people our own age, or from our own neighborhood, or from our own educational background?
I don’t usually preach through blog posts, but as I prepared to preach this week on the joy that Jesus brings, these words called me to face the kind of joy I am seeking. Am I seeking something less than the joy of the gospel because what I really want is a group of people surrounding me in the church who look, act, and think like me? Or, do I see joy in the fact that Christ has come to redeem me from my sin, and he has come to redeem others from their sin, and he has joined us together in a beautiful mix of all kinds of people, who are all created in the image of God and are gathered in the name of worship? (Please excuse the run on sentence, but that is the way the thought came to me.)
So now I ask you, what kind of joy are you seeking? This advent season, we have been tracing our longings, and have repeatedly seen that our longings are ultimately meant to point us to Jesus. In Luke 2:10, the angel promised good news of joy. This joy-producing good news that the angel spoke of was the gospel of Jesus Christ. This gospel is both exclusive and inclusive. It is good news, only for those who will turn in faith to Jesus and repent of their sins, but it is good news for ALL who will turn in faith to Jesus and repent of their sins. I pray that this Christmas you will know the eternal joy that comes through faith in Jesus. This Christmas, I also pray that Christ Church, and all of Christ’s Church, will reflect the beauty of God’s creation, and like Jesus, love all the little children of the world.