“But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (Luke 2:10 ESV)
Two thousand years ago, over the pastures and hills of Bethlehem, shepherds were watching their flocks. Suddenly, the shepherds were startled by an amazing thing. Angels, possibly surrounded by light and possibly even hovering in the air appeared. Their reaction was that they "were sore afraid." Today, we would use other words but all of us can relate to what it means to be terror-stricken.
The angel however tells them to not be afraid and says, “I bring you good new that will cause great joy for all the people (Luke 2:10). Often we are told of ‘good news’ but we find that it may not be entirely ‘good’. Also, this news was not only good but would cause great joy for all people.
“Fear not” is a common phrase in the bible, often attributed to angels. In proper context, it can be found over 80 times. God appeared to Abraham and told him to “Fear not.” Moses told the people of Israel to “Fear not.” Joshua was told by God to “Fear not,” and was given a further promise that He, God would be with Joshua as He had been with Moses.
The shepherds are given the best greeting of all as the angel said unto them, "Fear Not... behold a Savior" (Luke 2:10-11). The answer to their fear and the reason that this good news was to be for all the people was that the Savior, the long-awaited Messiah, was born.
This verse out of Luke kicks off this season of Advent and the beginning of the Christmas season. While Christmas is associated with gifts and good cheer and great times around a dinner table with family, the message of the angels is still the message for today, “fear not, the Messiah is born”.
This baby that was born in Bethlehem was no ordinary baby nor ordinary king. The Bible says clearly that Jesus was sinless, born of the Holy Spirit. It was because of this miraculous birth that we can have life eternal. This was the promise of the Messiah, the good news for all people.