Intro. Luke is telling us the story of the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem of Judea. After the child was delivered, and safely wrapped in swaddling clothes, the angels made the announcement to the shepherds.
I. THE ANGELIC ANOUNCEMENT TO THE SHEPHERDS.
A. Shepherds were generally looked down upon by the orthodox Jew, they were engaged in a profession that made it quite unlikely to participate in the worship ceremonies. It would be nearly impossible for them to fulfill all of the ceremonial washings that were required.
1. Perhaps this is why the angel said that the good news was for all people. The common as well as the orthodox.
2. Perhaps it was a foreshadowing of the future, for as Jesus began to minister we read that the common people heard Him gladly, though He was rejected by the orthodox.
3. Some have suggested that these were not ordinary shepherds, but were actually the Temple shepherds, who tended the flocks that were raised specifically for the temple sacrifices.
B. The announcement was of good tidings of great joy which was for all people.
1. The Greek word translated good tidings is the same word that in other places is translated gospel. You have heard that the word gospel means good news.
2. The announcement was indeed good tidings of great joy, for these people were in both spiritual and physical bondage.
a. They were in bondage to the Roman government. Roman soldiers walked their streets, a Roman appointed king ruled over them and they had to pay taxes to Rome.
b. They were in spiritual bondage for the priesthood at that time was controlled by thieves. They had turned the house of God into a market place for the merchandising of religious articles at horribly inflated prices.
c. Even to the present day one of the negatives in visiting the so called holy sites in Israel is when you want to meditate on the things of the Lord, you are harassed by the pushy vendors trying to sell you their wares.
II. THE ANNOUNCEMENT, "FOR UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID A SAVIOR, WHICH IS THE MESSIAH, THE LORD."
A. What good news to those who are lost in sin, there is a Savior.
1. The Bible asserts that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
2. The Bible declares that the wages of sin is death.
a. That puts all of us under the sentence of death.
b. This death is spiritual death, that is, separation from God.
c. The effect of sin is always that of separating man from the holy God. Isaiah 59:1
d. This spiritual death eventuates in physical death.
3. In a sense the human race is locked up on death row just waiting for the day of the execution of the sentence.
4. Man has often sought to save himself from his sin.
a. There are all kinds of programs that offer help, usually for a very substantial fee, to those who are bound by addictions.
b. The Greek philosophers had concluded that redemption was an impossibility. They concluded that if a man was once down, he could never rise again, he can never be truly changed.
c. In a sense they were right, in that man cannot with his best efforts save himself.
d. Some try to excuse their sin by saying that they cannot help doing what they do for they were born that way.
e. They are confirming what the Bible has already declared that we have been born in sin and shapen in iniquity.
f. Where they are wrong is in their declaration that they cannot change. It is true that they cannot change themselves, but there was born in Bethlehem a Savior who is able to save them, even as He has saved us. For if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, and the old things are passed away, and everything becomes new.
B. Before He was ever born, the angel commanded them to call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.
1. He was one day to proclaim, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Oh that the salvation of Israel [were come] out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, [and] Israel shall be glad. Good tidings of great joy.
3. Later in the chapter we read when Jesus is brought into the temple for dedication this aged godly man Simeon took him in his arms, and declared, "Lord let thy servant die in peace for I have seen thy salvation."
4. Peter was later to declare, neither is their salvation in any other for their is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
5. Paul was to write to the Romans, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to him that believeth."
C. This Savior is described by the angel to the shepherds, as Christ, Lord.
1. The Greek word Christos means anointed, it is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Mashiach. Thus the angel is declaring that this child born in Bethlehem is the Messiah.
a. The word anointed refers to the rite that was conducted in the inauguration of the king. They would pour a cruse of oil over his head, he was thus anointed as king.
b. This babe that was born, was the anointed One, who was to proclaimed King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
2. The word Lord is the Greek word Kurios, it is the Greek word that is used to translate the name of Yaweh or Jehovah into the Greek language. Acts 2:20
is one of the many examples.
a. The announcement is then that God has come in human flesh, He is born in Bethlehem and now is cradled in the manger.
b. Paul declared to Timothy, "Great is the mystery of Godliness, God was manifested in the flesh."
c. John said, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the word was made flesh and He dwelt among us."
D. He is the Savior, the Messiah or anointed One, He is the Lord of the universe.
1. He is Savior only to those who believe in Him.
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.