“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (KJV, Luke 2:10-12).
“And the angel said unto them”
The Bible tells us the angles of God have a ministerial role to mankind. Here we see an angel appearing to the Shepherds as they tended their flock by night. Angles were often the carriers of important messages in Scripture.
An angel appeared to Mary with the message of Christ’s birth. An angel appeared to Zechariah and told the man of John the Baptist’s birth. In the Old Testament, an angel appeared to Daniel to give Daniel insight and understanding concerning David’s visions.
The angel’s response to “fear not” was in response to what was written in Luke 2:9. When the angel appeared to the shepherds, their response was fear. They beheld the angelic being and were terrified by its sight.
The typical response of man in the Bible upon seeing an angelic being is fear. It is a telling reality to see fear as the common occurrence. The sight must be astounding and out of this world. However, if the common response to seeing an angel, a created being, is fear, what must it be like if a man were to see God?
Well, the Bible tells us. When Moses desired to see God, Moses did so in ignorance. God told Moses that Moses could not look upon the face of God and live. In other words, while fear is the response to man seeing an angel, death is the response to man seeing God.
“for, behold, I bring you good tidings”
However, the angels came to bring good tidings. What could these good tidings be? Good tidings could be thought of as good news. The Gospel is essentially good news. The people were in need of good news so are the people are today.
The Bible is replete with bad news; if someone does not know where to look for the good news, he could find himself very discouraged.
The angel was unashamed of the good news that he had brought. Elsewhere, we read Paul telling us that he is unashamed of the Gospel. But why? Paul tells us that in the Gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed. When Jesus Christ came into the world, the angel had a message of the righteousness of God being revealed to mankind.
“of great joy”
While some of the Bible has bad news, the angels brought good news. As a result, the news was to bring great joy. Here we see that the joy this news would bring would consist of joy in immense proportions. After all, an angel came to deliver the message.
Looking back to Luke 2:8-9, we see the lowly shepherds in the field tending their flock. They were keeping a close watch over their flock as faithful shepherds do. Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them.
They likely had never seen an angel before. In Jewish tradition, angelic beings were highly esteemed. The exaltation of angels in Jewish thought is why the author of Hebrews addresses the superiority of Jesus over angels immediately in the first chapter of Hebrews. It is possible that the author of Hebrews would have discussed the superiority of Christ over the angels immediately to keep the people’s attention, as Hebrews is a large book. Simply put, the Jewish shepherds would have been drawn to the angels like metal to a magnet.
The angel coming to deliver the message would have been nothing short of monumental. The sheer sight of the angels would have been astounding, but the message itself would be the source of joy.
“which shall be to all people”
We have seen the carriers of the message. We have seen the sum of its contents, good news. We have seen what the response to the message would be, great joy. But who would the message be for? The Bible tells us that the message would be for all people.
The Bible clarifies that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Here we see yet again that the message was for the masses. God is calling all people to Himself.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour”
What a blessing that God has given the world a Savior. Jesus has come to save His people from their sin. There is no name under heaven given to man by which man can be saved apart from Jesus Christ.
The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and sure enough, Christ the Messiah was born in Bethlehem. In Micah 5:2, we are told that Bethlehem was a little place, even too little to be numbered with the clans of Judah. However, we are also told that out of Bethlehem, the Savior would come and rule in Israel.
The birth of Christ is pictured as a humble time in many ways. First, we see the recipients of the message are lowly shepherds. Second, we see that the city was small in comparison to others. Finally, in a bit, we will see the infant lying in a manger.
“which is Christ the Lord”
The Child Who was born was Christ the Lord. In Greek, the word Christ is used, while in Hebrew, we would find the word, Messiah. Both Messiah and Christ mean the same thing. The words, Christ and Messiah, imply that Jesus was the Anointed One of God and was the Savior.
There is a challenge that the church is facing in the present moment. Many believe you can take Jesus as Christ/Savior but do have to take Him as Lord. This teaching is inconsistent with the Bible and must be seen as false. Here we see that the One born into this world was Christ the Lord.
Jesus cannot be divided. He is both Savior and Lord.
“And this shall be a sign unto you”
The ministry of Christ was filled with many signs. The ministry of the apostles was filled with many signs. The ministry of Elijah, Elisha, and Moses was filled with many signs. God has given the world signs to validate the message and the messenger.
When the angel came to deliver the message, the angel left the shepherds with a sign to validate the messenger and message.
“Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger”
Here we see the sign. The Baby would be wrapped in swaddling clothes, and He would be lying in a manger. Christ came in humility. He did not come in a gold-plated cradle, nor was He born in a palace. Christ came into the world as a servant to lay in a manger. This means that Jesus was placed into a device used for animal food.
When the prodigal son ran from his father, where did he end up? The Bible tells us that the prodigal son ate with pigs, likely out of a trough or a manger. When the prodigal son saw his condition as he lay there with the pigs, he got up and ran to the father. However, we see Jesus coming into the world in a similar condition where the prodigal ran from.
The shepherds were likely told the message because they would have joyfully received it. They would have been accustomed to managers and stables. They would have embraced the news as though the Savior had come for them.
This Christmas, fix Your eyes upon the humble Christ. He came as a lowly and meek servant of the Father, and He came to seek and save the lost.
Father, thank You for the humility of Christ. I see in Jesus a Savior that is approachable. Draw me to Jesus this Christmas. In Jesus’ name, Amen.