This is Good News
12/25 – Glory to God in the Highest (Luke 2:-1-20)
Introduction — Here Luke tells the story of Jesus being born in the fullness of time. In those days a decree went out from Caesar to take a census of all people under his rule. So, everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Nazareth to Bethlehem (the city of David), since he was of the house and family of David. While there, Mary gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now, in the same region shepherds were staying out in the fields and guarding their flock by night. An angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they feared a great fear. But the angel told them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in manger.” 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 among men with whom He is pleased.” This is a story of God’s glory come to earth, of Jesus being born. The shepherds saw God’s glory. The shepherds heard God’s glory. Mary held God’s glory. They all spoke God’s glory.
What about us? Do we see the glory of God in the face of Christ? Do we hear His glory in the gospel? Do we speak of God’s glory to others?
The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. (20)
These shepherds saw the glory of God. (8-12)
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
Comments: By God’s grace, the shepherds see God’s glory. While keeping watch over their flock by night, these shepherds get a visit from an angel of the Lord who suddenly stands before them. And the glory of the Lord shines around them. From Luke’s description, it seems that God’s glory surrounds them like a dome of brilliant light. Hence, the “they were terribly frightened” detail Luke includes. These folks are in awe of what they behold. They fear a great fear from what they see. They are undone by God’s glory in their midst. Questions: Do you stand in awe of God? Do you revere God? Do you bow in wonder before God’s glory? Verses: He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen. ~ Deuteronomy 10:21 AND Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men. ~ Psalm 66:5 Applications: Respond with reverent awe before the mighty, holy works of God in our midst. See the glory of God piercing the darkness of this sinful world. See the glory of God wrapped in flesh, lying in a manger.
These shepherds heard the glory of God. (13-14)
13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
Comments: By God’s word, the shepherds hear God’s glory. Now a vast angelic army joins the first messenger in speaking God’s praise to the stunned shepherds. This heavenly host proclaims, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” The theme of the angels’ praise is twofold. First, they proclaim the glory of God’s dominion. There is no one above God. He rules over all, and he rules from the highest place. Second, the angels proclaim the glory of God’s peace on earth among people on whom His favor rests. As Darrell L. Bock states, “This remark makes it clear that salvation and its fullness are not automatic for everyone. Only those who respond to God’s grace and follow the path lit by the rising sun will experience the peace into which that path leads (1:78-79). Jesus comes for all, but not all respond to and benefit from his coming.” (Bock, Luke: The NIV Application Commentary, p. 85) Questions: Do you hear the glory of God’s rule over all? Do you hear the glory of God’s peace for those who respond by faith to His grace? Do you know the glory of God’s peace? Do you keep walking in that path of peace? Verses: 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. ~ Ephesians 2:13-14 Applications: Remain humble before God. Remain expectant before God. Remain faithful before God. Joyfully and humbly listen to the word of God.
The shepherds spoke the glory of God. (15-20)
16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
Comments: The idea of quick obedience to God shows up again with the shepherds. Much like Mary, the shepherds do not hesitate to move rapidly in response to God’s word. They see. They hear. They get going. They don’t seem to offer debate as to why they shouldn’t go to Bethlehem. They don’t seem to wrangle over the meaning of the message. They simply go. And once there, they tell Joseph and Mary about the words the angel spoke regarding the baby. And as they get back to work, they apparently talk about what they saw with anyone who will listen. These shepherds speak about the glory of God. These outcast men talk about the glory of God’s welcome to them. These men must speak of all they saw and all they heard. Questions: Do we quickly move to obey God’s word? Do we have an urgency to speak about the glory of God? Do we have a burning zeal to talk about the good news of Jesus Christ our Lord? Do we share this gospel, this good news with anyone who will listen? Verses: 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. ~ Acts 5:29-30 Applications: As you enjoy time with family and friends this day, talk about the glory of God. As you get back to work, talk about the glory of God. As you stand in line for gift returns, talk about the glory of God. As you sit down to meals throughout this week, talk about the glory of God. Tell what you’ve seen. Tell what you’ve heard. Declare this gospel to anyone willing to listen. Declare this good news. Tell this good news. Glorify and praise God for all that you’ve seen and heard Him do in your life.
Word Study for Luke 2:1-20
1 decree (dogma—rule; ordinance; regulation; official order; command)
6 completed (pimplemi—fill; fill full; fill completely; make happen; come to an end)
8 shepherds (poimen—shepherd; minister; herdsman)
9 glory (doxa—splendor; brightness; amazing might; praise; honor; radiance)
9 shone around (perilampo—illuminate all around)
10 bring good news (euangelizo—tell the good news; to preach; to proclaim; announce good news)
10 joy (chara—joy; gladness; reason for gladness; delight)
11 Christ (Christos—Messiah; anointed one; Christ)
11 Lord (kyrios—Lord; owner; ruler; sir; master; possess; sovereign)
13 multitude (plethos—great number; crowd; throng; horde; to be full)
13 host (stratia—army; land force; company; band)
14 pleased (eudokia—what pleases; desire; goodwill; approval; favor; benevolence)
18 wondered (thaumazo—be astonished; wonder; marvel; be amazed)
19 treasured (syneterei—preserve; observe; preserve closely; to keep close; keep in a safe condition)
19 pondering (symballo—think seriously about; confer with; compare with)
20 glorifying (doxazo—praise; honor; speak words of glory; attribute a high status)
20 praising (aineo—praise; to speak in praise of)
Application for Luke 2:1-20
Let’s marvel at the glory of God’s working through history.
Let’s marvel at the glory of life.
Let’s marvel at the glory of Christ’s birth.
Let’s marvel at the glory of good news of great joy.
Let’s marvel at the glory of God’s peace through Jesus Christ.
Let’s marvel at the glory of God.
Gospel Connections for Luke 2:1-20
Jesus was born in the fullness of time. Jesus was born at the perfect time. Jesus was born in obscurity. Jesus was born in meager surroundings. Jesus was born to bring light to the darkness. Jesus was born in the city of David. Jesus was born as Savior. Jesus is the Savior. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is the word made flesh.
Thoughts and Quotes for Luke 2:1-20
Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.
~ Corrie Ten Boom
The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation. ~ J.I. Packer
The very purpose of Christ's coming into the world was that he might offer up his life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas. ~ Billy Graham
If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: 'God with us.'
We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity.
More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth! ~ John MacArthur
He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy. He, the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute. ~ Augustine