“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”—Luke 2:11
These familiar words should gladden our hearts. The prophecy of the birth of the Messiah had now been fulfilled. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me one that is to be ruler in Israel.” (Mic. 5:2) God chose this city because it was the city of David, Israel’s beloved king. However, few children in Judea or even the entire world were born in humbler circumstances. Due to the crowded conditions caused by many coming to pay their taxes, Jesus was born in a cattle stall. (Luke 2:1-7) But from these simple beginnings, the son of God would go on to complete his mission as the world’s Savior.
The birth of our Lord Jesus, to be properly understood, must be considered as a gift of divine love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) God, through the life and sacrifice of Jesus, provided for the salvation of the entire world. Through the Father’s plan, Jesus was begotten by the Holy Spirit so that after he died as a ransom for Adam, he could be raised from the dead to be the high priest to bring mankind back to God in his earthly kingdom. Jesus would make it possible to recover all that was lost by disobedience in Eden—everlasting life, perfection and fellowship with God and his son. As the effects of Adam’s disobedience were inherited by his descendants, so the results of Christ’s obedient life will be shared by all.
The announcement delivered to the shepherds was sent to those who were humble, and trustworthy. The message of good tidings was an inspired one, and in harmony with the promise that God made to Abraham. (Gen. 28:14) While they were “keeping watch” and guarding their flocks, the shepherds became “sore afraid.” (Luke 2:8,9) This reveals that mankind generally does not view God as being gracious and loving, but God is a God of grace, love, and the father of mercies. (2 Cor. 1:3) The angels told the shepherds to “fear not,” for a message of “good tidings of great joy” was being proclaimed to them.—Luke 2:10
The order of the message is important. First, “good tidings,” then “great joy,” and finally, the crowning feature—it is “to all people.” The message declared a Savior had been born—the anointed one. God carefully declared he was sending his only begotten son to be man’s redeemer, “that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth.”—Rom. 3:26
Luke 2:14 adds a grand chorus of angelic voices to the message singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14) This was a declaration of the wonderful character and power of God concerning the work by which this babe just born would bring glory and honor to his Father everlastingly.
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