The great announcement

Luke 2:10-11 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

The story of the shepherds is one of the great stories that we can read about during this Christmas season. It is amazing to think that God sent His angel to tell a group of shepherds out in the field about the birth of the Savior of all mankind. God did not send His angel to tell the high priest or some political leader, but told lowly shepherds. It was a glimpse into the future of who would take this great Gospel to the world. The Gospel of Christ would not be spread over the entire world by great political leaders or by religious elitists, but it would be spread by the lowly and common. But as we look at the announcements that the angel of the Lord gave to these shepherds, the first thing that we need to take notice of is the announcement that they should not fear. This first announcement is vital because until they set their fears aside, they would not be able to receive or understand the rest of the announcements that the angel was going to give them. The announcements that we see from the angel of the Lord involved joy and peace and forgiveness, but none of these things can be received until we set our fears aside. There is no joy or peace that we can experience if fear is present in our hearts. No doubt these shepherds were scared half to death by the sudden appearance of the angel, and they had every right to be scared at this point in time. It wasn’t like angels appeared to shepherds on a regular basis. This is why the angel of the Lord immediately brings a message of comfort to them before he gives them the rest of the announcements. The Lord is still delivering a message of joy and peace and forgiveness, but often the fear that we allow to dominate our hearts and lives keeps us from hearing the message that the Lord is delivering to us.

Next, we notice the angel of the Lord bringing these good tidings of great joy. Notice that the angel wasn’t just bring tidings and joy, but we bringing good tidings and great joy. The extra emphasis speaks to the fact that this announcement is Heavenly and has eternal ramifications to it. It speaks to the fact that the prophecies that were foretold all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden are coming to pass. We also see the scope of this goods news: all people. The Gospel of Christ wasn’t just for a specific group of people or to a specific nation, but it would be for all people, of all nations, of all races, of all languages, of all ages, for all time. This good news wasn’t just the period of time the shepherds were in, but it would be good news for every generation until God brings the very concept of time to an end.

Lastly, let’s look at the announcement of what was born on this day: The Savior, Christ the Lord. The titles that we see with this little child that was just born are immense! The title of “Savior” speaks of Jesus being the Deliverer. Only Jesus can deliver us from our sin. Only Jesus could bear the sin debt of all people from all time, so we could be delivered from the penalty of sin and the wrath of God that comes with it. Only Jesus could deliver us from being a servant of sin to a child of God and a servant of righteousness. But it is also important for us to understand from this announcement from the angel of the Lord that Jesus was already the Savior of the world. Here is this little newborn child, but He was already the Savior of the world and had power to forgive sins. The angel is not stating that Jesus would one day become the Savior of the world, but that He already was the Savior of the world. The angel is not stating that Jesus would grow into the title of Savior, but that He was the Savior of the world the moment He was born. The title of “Christ” speaks of Jesus being the Messiah that was prophesied by so many that came before. No doubt these shepherds were aware of many of these prophecies, but to have this angel of the Lord before them telling them that all these prophecies are now being fulfilled right in front of them must have excited them beyond containment. The Messiah that they had read and heard about for so many years was finally here, and He was just a few miles away from them. The last title that we see is “Lord”, and this title means that Jesus was supreme in authority. There were many in the day that these shepherds lived in that thought of themselves as being of great authority and power, but here in Bethlehem was the One who was supreme in all power and authority. Here was this little newborn baby, and yet this newborn child was the supreme authority and power of all creation because He spoke it into existence. No person looks at a newborn child and thinks of the power they have, but that is exactly what we see here in this case. During the life and ministry of Jesus, He made it well known that He was indeed supreme in power and authority.

Now, the newborn Jesus could not speak or walk, and was just like any newborn child from a physical perspective, but here lying in this manger was God in the flesh. We look at the humble birth of Jesus and the titles that are associated with the newborn child in wonderment, but each and every title that is bestowed upon Him He is worthy of. At this point in time, He may not look like the great Deliverer, Messiah, or Lord that the Jews were looking for; but He was, is, and always shall be the Savior of the world. Soon after, we see the shepherds make haste to go and see this newborn Savior of the world, and they would be the first ones to go and tell others about God’s promised Messiah, but they would be far from the last ones to take this message to others. Even today, there are untold numbers of people who proclaim the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people around them. This is the message of Christmas. It’s not about the gifts that we can give or receive from others, but it is about receiving the gift of God’s perfect salvation in Jesus Christ and delivering that message to others.

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