I. The Birth of Jesus (King Jesus)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
In Luke 2 we can see the fulfillment of Isaiah 7.14; 9.6; Micah 5.2. Jesus the Creator humbled Himself, which required care, bathing, feeding, and teaching from His own creation. Jesus received life enriching sustenance from His mother’s milk and loving comfort for emotional development. It is hard for us to imagine a dependent Jesus, but dependent He was (on His own creation). On one occasion his parents had to flee to Egypt to ensure His safety. When Jesus scraped His knee, Mary comforted Him. Joseph taught Jesus how to treat His mother, how to behave like a gentleman, and carpentry skills.
II. The Message of the Angel
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 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. 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, good will toward men.
We learned in Luke one that Gabriel is known as the angel of the Lord. In Luke two Gabriel shares another message, but this time He is sharing the message of hope with shepherds. Gabriel announces the birth of the Savior. The name Savior denotes deliverance from danger or destruction; it also assumes the necessity of deliverance from something dangerous. Jesus did not come so that we could institute a holiday that involves trees, decorations, candy canes, egg nog, and giving gifts. Jesus came to deliver us from sin, misery, agony, death, the fear of death, from the power of Satan, and hopelessness. It is clear why the heavenly host praised and glorified God; the long awaited embodiment of Salvation arrived.
There is another historical account where we can read about the angel of the Lord. It may, or may not interest you to know that when Abraham was about to offer Isaac, the angel of the Lord stopped Abraham with a different message. Just as Abraham told Isaac, God did provide a lamb. What God prevented in the land of Moriah, He fulfilled on the cross with Jesus Christ. There are Bible teachers who identify Isaac as a type of Christ. Isaac cannot be a type, he was not offered. The ram was the offering. Abraham did not sacrifice his son. God did. Remember, John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John 1.29
III. The Shepherds’ Journey and Worship of the King
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
The Shepherds responded to the message with haste, quickly they began their journey. Why does it take us so long to respond to the message of God? When we believe God’s Word we recognize His faithfulness. Yet, we continue to slowly respond to each message. The shepherds were pleased to experience for themselves the truth that was told them by Gabriel. Their experience with and the observations of the child confirmed the message. As a result they returned glorifying and praising God.
I can recall many trips taken at Christmas time. My family and I enthusiastically load up the vehicle and anxiously travel, rejoicing about time off work, spending time with family, feasting, and gifts. The ride home is a different story. We are not happy; we drudge through traffic with the reality that it will be another year before we can celebrate Christmas again. Yet, we read about the shepherds return trip, and we read that they glorified and praised God. Their praise validates the birth of a King and a Savior, not a man. Once again we have read about the faithfulness and truthfulness of another message proclaimed by the angel of the Lord.
God made every effort to foretell the birth of the Savior. He made every effort to ensure many witnesses to the birth of the Savior. He sent a messenger to prepare the way for the Savior. He has a habit of supplying grace and mercy for His creation. God has alwasy been dynamically involved in the life of His creation. He has communicated with His creation in beautiful, wonderful, and supernatural ways. In Luke chapter two, He is born.