Lk. 2:10,11 – 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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
This angel could be considered the first messenger to preach the gospel. The word gospel means to preach good news of great joy. The scene in Luke describes jubilant angels overflowing with joy. Didn’t Jesus Himself say that all of the angels break out in joy when one sinner repents? What else could angels do when they realized the One who had created them, the One they had worshipped since the day they were created, had become a human baby. Not just a human, but He had become the promised Savior of the world. It was impossible for them to restrain themselves, they exploded on the scene near Bethlehem with shouts and singing of joy. What was their purpose? They were to announce good news of great joy for all who would believe on Him. Here is how Martin Luther describes this scene.
“With these words the angel demonstrates the gospel most clearly and that nothing else is to be preached in Christendom….He does not say, “I preach to you,” but rather, “I speak gospel to you; I am an evangelist; my word is gospel.” Thus the word gospel means a good, joyful message which is the proclamation of the new covenant. What does the gospel say? Listen. He says: “I bring you good news of great joy; my gospel speaks of great joy.” Where is it? Listen again. “To you is born a Savior, Christ the Lord, today in Bethlehem in the city of David.”
See here what the gospel is, namely, a joyful sermon about Christ our Savior. Whoever preaches him rightly preaches the gospel and pure joy. How can a heart hear of greater joy than that Christ is given to him as his own? He not only says that Christ is born, but he also makes his birth our own by saying ‘your Savior’.”
I love what Luther says about this angel’s message, it was good news of great joy and that anyone who preaches rightly also preaches a gospel of pure joy. Why is it so joyful? He is our Savior. We were once slaves of sin, slaves of bad decisions and addictive behavior. We are now not only forgiven but forgiven and set free. Anyone who gets this will join the band of happy angels and happy shepherd preachers with a gospel of overflowing joy.