Devotion 20. Angels Preach to the Shepherds.
Luke tells us in Luke 2: 8-14:
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!”
Kings do not come to town unannounced. They send heralds before them to announce their appearance so people will be ready for them. It was the same with Jesus Christ. But in his case, his heralds were angels. They came to announce the good news that Jesus was born in the City of David. I do not know why, but God chose to herald the coming of Christ to some shepherds. These guys were camped out with their flock of sheep in the fields when the angels appeared. The angels told them the Messiah, the Christ, had been born. They told them where he would be and what he looked like so they would know when they found him.
There was important news in this announcement. The long awaited Messiah had appeared. From the beginning, when Adam and Eve heard the curse on the serpent, God’s people awaited the one who would defeat Satan. They awaited the seed of Abraham that would bless all nations. They looked for the prophet like Moses. They waited for the one perfect sacrifice. They expected a Suffering Servant that would bear their iniquities and heal their wounds with his stripes. Now, the angels announced, this Messiah appeared. The word Messiah is the English translation for the Hebrew word meaning “Annointed”. The word “one” is implied, so “Annointed One” would be a fair translation. In Greek it is Kristos if you use English letters. We transliterate it as Christ.
Jesus would later say the title should be his. Mark 14:60-62 records the following conversation:
And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
The angels’ second piece of news was that this news would be joy for all peoples. God promised Abraham a descendant who would bless all nations. That descendant arrived in Bethlehem announced by angels.
Third, those with whom God was pleased, those whom he called into his kingdom, would find peace with God. Sinful men and women are enemies of God. But Christ would reconcile his followers to the Father (Romans 5:10). Christ is the only one who can bring about this reconciliation in the life of believers. Jesus said “no one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6).
What a wonderful event and what a blessing to hear the news first. Yet, thanks to the Bible and the faithful witness of Christ’s disciples throughout the centuries, we join the angels in praise to God for his gracious salvation. The shepherds witnessed this first great praise: “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 those with whom he is pleased!”
That multitude of heavenly beings is now joined by a multitude of believers from all of time and from every country that ever existed glorifying God and preaching the gospel of reconciliation to God: peace to those with whom he is pleased. Revel in the knowledge that the Creator of the Universe is pleased with you if you follow his Son. He takes pleasure in your praise and your obedience. What more could you ask?