December 22, 2011
Christmas: The Joy of the
Savior, Christ the Lord
Luke 2:10-11, Page 1597
We see many titles applied to Jesus of Nazareth. As angels announced the birth of Christ, we see how God viewed this baby born in a stable, and laid in a manger. He came with unprecedented heavenly testimony, but on earth He arrived quietly without pomp or recognition. The angelic tidings of “good news of great joy” revealed the heavenly view of the earthly birth of Jesus. As we look at these two verses concerning Christmas, we see a view from heaven shared by men.
The Angel Said. In Luke 2:8, page 1597, we read about the angel appearing to some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flocks by night. These shepherds had a job that kept them outside, in the elements, and was not a glorious job. You may recall King David, the son of Jesse, as a youth tended sheep, and had to stay behind at home with the sheep while his older brothers went out to battle Goliath and the Philistines (1 Samuel 16:11, page 463; 1 Samuel 17:20, page 465; 2 Samuel 7:8, page 502). Likewise, Amos, one of the prophets who wrote a book of the Bible, was a shepherd from Tekoa (Amos 1:1, page 1434; Amos 7:14, page 1443). These shepherds in Luke 2:8, page 1597, had the privilege of hearing the angles announce the birth of Christ to them. Consider further that the Micah had prophesied that Jesus would be a ruler who will shepherd the people of God in Israel (Matthew 2:6, page 1502; Micah 5:2-4, page 1457–“He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God, and they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth;'” see also John 10:14, page 1675; Zechariah 13:7, page 1492, and Matthew 26:31, page 1550; the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:15, page 1675) and then takes it again (John 10:17-18, pages 1675-1676)). Imagine, in all the world, with all the people in various places, God sent the angels to speak to shepherds in fields at night with their sheep.
Do Not Be Afraid. The angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2:10, page 1597). This term for fear (“φοβεῖσθε“) has the common root word for fear throughout the New Testament. The shepherds were profoundly and genuinely frightened by the appearance of the angel of the Lord and the glory of the Lord shining around them. Of the ten times the phrase “Do not be afraid” (“Μὴ φοβεῖσθε“) occurs in the New Testament, Jesus uses it seven times when speaking to His disciples and once talking with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary at the empty tomb. (Matthew 28:10, page 1556). Angels used the phrase the other two times: once when the angel spoke to the shepherds at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:10, page 1597) and second when the angel spoke to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary at the empty tomb after the death and resurrection of Christ (Matthew 28:5, page 1556). When coming from angels, this phrase “Do not fear” conveys the idea that the appearance of the angels tended to overwhelm the people they addressed. So the shepherds receive this greeting from the angel sent to announce the glad tidings of the birth of Christ. You may recall that angels are mighty in strength and perform the word of God, by obeying the voice of His word (Psalm 103:20, page 956). We also know that the angels are ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14, page 1870). Here, the angels of the Lord brought joyful news to all the people.
Good News of Great Joy. The angel heralded the good news of the birth of Christ. The term “good news” (“εὐαγγελίζομαι“) has the same Greek root word as the word “gospel.” We speak of “evangelicals” today, referring to people who claim to have been born again by Christ after hearing the good news. Likewise, we use the term “evangelize” to refer to spreading the good news of Jesus to the whole world. In Luke 2:10, page 1597, the angels brought good news to the shepherds, signaling the fullness of time had arrived for the birth of Christ (Galatians 4:4, page 1823). The angelic message links the good news of the birth of Christ with great joy (“χαρὰν μεγάλην“). God intended for the proclamation of the angel to bring joy to all the nations, for God never wills for anyone to perish, but for all to repent, and come to Jesus Christ for salvation (2 Peter 3:9, page 1903). Only in Jesus will we ever find real joy that lasts for a lifetime. Everyone on earth just had a Savior born, who would give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28, page 1536) by offering Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2, page 1904). Because death could never hold the Prince of life, He rose victorious over death and now sits at the right hand of God (Acts 2:24-28, page 1702).
The City of David. You may recall in the Old Testament, the people of Israel demanded a king who would judge them and fight for them and they could be like all the other nations (1 Samuel 8:20, pages 448-449). Such a demand displeased God, because the people had rejected God as their king (1 Samuel 8:7, page 448). God then gave the people of Israel Saul as their first king, but he disobeyed God repeatedly and God replaced Saul with David. God promised David that David would always have a descendent upon the throne of Israel (2 Samuel 7:8-17, pages 502-503). Jesus now comes in the flesh, born of a woman descended from David, to fulfill that prophecy regarding David and the Royal Covenant of God with David (Matthew 1:1-17; Acts 13:33-34; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5). Jesus was born in the city of David, Bethlehem, and would always be the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:6, page 1937).
Savior, Christ the Lord. In Luke 2:11, page 1597, we now see why the whole world should have rejoiced at the birth of the Savior. Jesus came as the One who would save the people of God from their sins (Matthew 1:21, page 1502). As Savior, Jesus was the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, page 1654). Notice too that Jesus was the Christ, the anointed one of God, promised in the Old Testament as the Messiah of Israel. We know that Messiah (“Μεσσίαν“) is the Hebrew word (“מָשִׁיח“) for Christ (“Χριστός“) (John 1:41, page 1655; John 4:25-26, page 1660). Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew 1:16, page 1501). All of Israel longed to see Messiah, or the Christ, and now He had appeared. Jesus also came as Lord, and we know that one day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11, page 1837). Our joy today comes from recognizing Jesus as Lord and confessing Him today (Romans 10:9-10, page 1772).
So we learn more about the joy of Christmas.
● Christmas is all about joy to all people.
● The whole world should rejoice because Jesus, the Savior, was born in Bethlehem.
● Christians rejoice because Christ the Lord has come to save men from their sins.
Application for Today
As I walk through life today, I will meditate upon Christ and Christmas. As believers, we should live in the joy of Jesus Christ every day. In Him, we have life and the joy of sins forgiven. Will you walk in the joy of Christmas today?