What is the Good News of Christmas? The angel told the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all people.” He went on to say that a Savior was born to them in Bethlehem. So what was so good about that news?
Isaiah 53:10 tells us that “it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You (God) make His (Jesus) soul an offering for sin, He (Jesus) shall see His (Jesus) seed, He (God) shall prolong His (Jesus) days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His (Jesus) hand.”
John the Baptist said that Jesus was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). This is the Good News! Jesus took away the sin of the world. How did He do it? The apostle Paul tells us in II Corinthians 5:21 that “He (God, the Father) made the One who had no sin of His own (Jesus, the Lamb of God) to be sin for us.” In other words, Jesus became our sin. When the Hebrews sacrificed the Passover lamb under the Old Covenant, they would place their hands on its head and, in effect, transfer their sins onto the lamb. That’s exactly what happened when Jesus went to the cross. Our sins got transferred to Him. Just like that Passover lamb became sin for the Hebrews, Jesus became our sin, in order to take it away.
But that’s only part of the Good News. The rest of it is that because He became our sin, we get to become His righteousness. Again, Paul tells us that it was “by one man’s disobedience (that) many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Adam sinned and we as his heirs became sinners. Jesus acted in obedience to the Father and, as His co-heirs, we become His righteousness.
Imagine that you are on death row for a crime that you committed. You are guilty. You know that you are guilty. You deserve to die. One day a man shows up at your cell and tells you that he has good news for you. He has agreed to take your penalty on himself. He will trade places with you. He will take your death penalty and you can go free. Isn’t that good news? But that’s not all. As you go free, he gives you the address to his father’s house. He tells you to go to his father’s house and knock on the door and his father will welcome you into his house and provide for you and you will become his son. Everything that his father has will become yours.
That is the Good News of Christmas! Jesus took our death penalty and gave us the address to His Father’s house, and if we trust in what Jesus has done for us, and actually go to the Father in Jesus’ name, He will welcome us into His family and we will inherit everything that belongs to the Father.