Luke 2:13-14- “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” NKJV
Christmas is just a few days away, and there is a lot of excitement in the air. As you walk past people they greet you with a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” and you smile and return the greeting. It’s such a friendly time of the year.
On the night that Jesus was born, the air was filled with excitement. All of the heavens waited with bated breath as Mary went through the normal course of labor and delivery. They couldn’t wait until God had delivered Himself to the world, in the flesh, as a Babe. Nothing like this had ever happened before and because He was so excited, so were they!
An angel was chosen to make the announcement to the shepherds. As instructed, immediately after His birth, the angel stepped out of heaven and the place of invisibility into the land of visibility and appeared to the shepherds. As the angel became visible, the glory of God shone all around, causing great fear and a holy reverence to come upon the scene. Then the angel spoke:
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”Luke 2:10-12 NKJV
Before they could take it all in, before they could breathe, the Bible states that suddenly a multitude of the heavenly hosts appeared on the scene. If they were afraid when one angel appeared, they must have been terrified when a host appeared!
In spite of the fact that this was a lot for the shepherds to take in at one time, the heavenly host couldn’t help itself! What they had just witnessed was so magnificent they had to give God some praise. As they praised Him, God allowed the heavens to part or allowed them to become visible, so the shepherds could witness what was happening:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”Luke 2:14 NKJV
They gave glory to God for the birth of Jesus. They knew this was no ordinary birth, no ordinary child. I know each of us understands the absolute miracle of the birth of our child, or the child of someone we love. We know it is special, miraculous! But this birth went beyond that! God had entered the world in flesh and they absolutely could not hold their peace a moment longer! Glory to God in the highest!
Peace! God had sent peace through His Son. An opportunity for mankind to be reconciled to Him, to experience peace. Paul wrote this about the reconciliation of man and God:
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.Ephesians 2:14-18 NKJV
Sweet wonderful Jesus! Peace and goodwill towards men. God’s will is good, and it has been directed towards men. Can I share another verse that comes to mind? I think I will:
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in HimselfEphesians 1:7-9 NKJV
The angels announced at Jesus’ birth, that it was as a result of God’s will that He extended towards mankind, that Jesus came into the world. It was His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, Paul summed up, that gives us redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Glory be to God! This is shouting material!
Every sacrifice in the Old Testament, every law, every statue was poised to point us to the significance of the Person of Jesus Christ, born to Mary, in Bethlehem. Every situation, every event, every recorded instance in the Old Testament was to prepare man for the purpose of God towards mankind, and the time had finally arrived. Jesus was born!
We look back at this event and we rejoice with the angels. But that night, in that field, the shepherds were probably so shocked by what they saw and heard they needed a moment to grasp it all. After the angels left, as suddenly as they had arrived, the shepherds began talking amongst themselves. They probably asked each other some questions about what they saw and heard, but it didn’t take them long to figure out what they needed to do.
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”Luke 2:15 NKJV
Of course, they found things as the angel had said. There was no exaggeration, no wrong directions, nothing to interpret. The angel told them where to go, what they would find, and it was as the angel said it would be.
And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.Luke 2:16-18 NKJV
Here’s where it gets to be interesting to me. After the shepherds saw Jesus they went out and made it known to quite a few people that Jesus was born. They told the people what the angel told them about where to find the Savior, and they shared how they had found Him. They told of the multitude of the angelic host that burst onto the scene and gave glory to God! They were so excited that the Messiah, the Christ was born! Here’s what I don’t understand. Luke wrote that those who heard it marveled at what they were told, but he doesn’t say that they rushed to the manger to see Him for themselves!
Isn’t that interesting? They marveled, but they weren’t compelled to go and see the Messiah! Times haven’t changed much. There is truly nothing new under the sun. No matter how much people hear about the Messiah, about how wonderful He is, there will always be those who will marvel but will make no effort to see Him for themselves. Interesting, and sad!
Well, that’s all for now! I have at least one more post I would like to make about the birth of Jesus! Until then, enjoy “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by CeCe Winans! Wonderful Jesus!