The angels announced it: “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men!”
Goodwill means favor and kindness, and the Infant in the manger was the bridge of favor and kindness between God and man. The Christ Child grew to truly be the Savior of the world, the tangible and literal expression of God’s favor to us.
In the moments we feel most insecure, confused, or needy, through Jesus we can experience the kindness of God. In our moments of joy, he rejoices with us. He is God’s Goodwill toward men.
Shepherds stayed out on the hillside and spent much of their lives away from the most respectable people. Though their work was honest enough, it was humble, dirty, and disrespected. They were lowly and unable to fulfill the religious rules of the day, so they were rejected by the religious leaders. Everything and everyone seemed better, cleaner, moreworthy than them. They felt continually inadequate. If they didn’t measure up to ordinary people, how could they ever measure up to a holy God’s standards?
Ever feel that way? Ever compare yourself to others and come up continually lacking? If so, you probably have some concerns about where you stand with God, too. You need to understand how goodwill works for you.
In honest moments, we all consider where we stand with God.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”
The shepherds where afraid of where they stood with God because they felt unworthy.
The shepherds were afraid of where they stood with God because they felt inadequate.
The shepherds were afraid of where they stood with God because they felt alone, even unloved.
Religion will always make us feel that way.
Relationship is why Jesus came.
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Religion says do. Relationship says done.
Everyone needs a savior.
If Jesus is not your Savior yet, commit to him today.
Look for a “shepherd” who doesn’t know where they stand with God to invite to church next weekend. Make it an invitation they can’t resist.