The Greatest Birth Announcement Ever

Posted: December 25, 2016 in Luke, Uncategorized
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Luke 2:10-14, “The Greatest Birth Announcement Ever”

Luke 2:10–14, “(10) Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. (11) For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (12) And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” (13) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: (14) “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!””

It was the greatest of birth announcements for the greatest of births!  Baby announcements are always fun & special occasions.  Women immediately want to know the size and weight of the baby, and men (at least in my experiences) are generally overwhelmed by it all.  And no wonder: a child has come into the world!  A miracle has once more taken place, as the infant once rolling around in the womb of its mother, has now come into the fresh air, and he/she can be seen by all the world.  It is always amazing & always a miracle!

And that’s for “normal” births.  Obviously every baby is special to his/her family, but some babies have a bit more impact than others.  Royal babies are celebrated, as their whole kingdom looks on.  Even celebrities have their pregnancies followed by thousands, and some fans rejoice as if it was their own personal family involved.

If that’s the case among humans, how much more with God?  If we rejoice over our children, should we not expect God to rejoice over His Son? If we set out yard signs & send out birth announcements, should we expect God to do less?  God didn’t merely post Jesus’ birth stats on Facebook; He sent out a heavenly choir!  No baby ever received the kind of announcement that Jesus received – and for good reason: He was unlike any other baby.  Jesus was royal, but He is more than royal; He is divine.  He is God in human form, and that is something worth celebrating.

In fact, that is exactly what the angel declares to the shepherds outside Bethlehem.  These men had been minding their business, doing what they ordinarily did at night while outside tending their flocks.  They had no reason to expect the appearance of an angel, and (to no one’s surprise) were terrified upon seeing one.  Who were they to receive such a glorious visitor?  Had they done something for which they were about to be judged?  Thankfully, the angel quickly put them at ease: “Do not fear.”  They were naturally afraid, but had no reason for it.  In fact, they had reason to celebrate!  The angel brought to them three things: (1) a message, (2) a sign, and (3) a response.

The Message
Good news!  That was the message of the angel, and the reason the shepherd need not fear.  He brought good news…great news!  How good?  Mega good!  Literally, it was good news (glad tidings) of “mega-joy.”  In other words, this wasn’t simply something to smile about, as if the shepherds needed cheering up.  This was something deserving of a party!  This was going to be the very best news the shepherd ever heard, or were ever going to hear.  Think back to the last time you were joyful – maybe even this morning around the Christmas tree.  How happy were you?  Think back to the most joyful time in your life – perhaps the day your children were born, or the day of your wedding.  Now multiply that.  Make it mega.  Super-size it.  That was the kind of joy that the angel brought to the shepherds.  They had all had good days in the past, but this was more than good – it was mega-great.

What made it so good?  The birth announcement.  There was a Child who had been born.  He was a stranger to the shepherds, but He was still Someone of great importance.  This birthday was better than any other they had ever known.  How so?  The identity makes all the difference.  It’s one thing to hear stories on the news; it’s another when your own family is at the center of them.  Identity matters.  It was the same thing here, except more joyful.  This Child had an identity that mattered to the shepherds – that mattered to the whole world.  Who was He?

  1. A Savior.  Mankind needs a Savior!  We’ve all sinned against God, and we’ve all earned His righteous judgment.  Every sin we commit is an infinite sin against an infinite God, and a price must be paid.  If we lie to a police officer or in a court of law, there are consequences.  How much more when our lie (or our lusts, or our rebellion) is against the Holy God?  We’ve all done it, and we’re all guilty.  We’re doomed for judgment unless we’re saved…and God sent a Savior!  What great news!  If we were lost at sea, stranded in the ocean, then the sight of a ship or an arriving helicopter would be wonderful.  We have a Savior!  We have been lost, and a Savior has been sent to rescue us!
  2. Christ the Lord.  The Savior wasn’t just anyone – He wasn’t a random stranger in Israel.  He wasn’t even simply a prophet, as great as prophets are.  This baby was “Christ the Lord.”  In other words, He was the prophesied King of Israel.  “Christ” = “Messiah” = “Anointed One.”  The idea is that this Babe was chosen by God and set apart for His purposes.  Specifically, the term was used in reference to the past kings of Israel, those of the family of David…and Israel hadn’t had one of those for many generations.  They did now!  This was the Savior who was born that night.  A King had been given to God’s people: the very Christ they had expected for centuries.  In fact, this “Christ” was expected long before the kingdom of Israel ever existed – He was expected from the very dawn of time.  Back in the Garden of Eden, God promised a Man who would come to defeat the works of the devil.  This Man is the God-Man, the Christ, the Savior of the world.  This was good news indeed!

The Sign
This was incredible news given to the shepherd, but how would they enjoy it?  How could they see this baby – this gift – for themselves?  That’s why the angel gave them a sign – something to look for to verify which baby was THE Baby.  What was it?  Humility.  This incredible Savior-King would be laying in a manger.  He would be dressed as all Hebrew babies were dressed, in swaddling cloths.  No royal robes for this King – no gold-trimmed plush cradle for His bed.  The greatest Man who ever lived began His life in the most humble of surroundings: as a baby born into poverty, placed in an animal’s feeding trough.

This itself was a symbol of the entire event behind Jesus.  The Son of God left the glories of heaven to come live among men.  He adopted the most humble of appearances when He deserved the most magnificent glory.  Why did He do it?  Love.  He loves you & me.  Jesus understood that we would forever be lost in our sins if He remained in glory.  So He gave it up…at least for a time.  He set aside His privileges & divine prerogatives in order to come to earth as a humble servant – to be the sacrifice for all men & women everywhere.  Again – this is wonderfully good news!

The Response
That kind of news demands a response, and the angels gave it when the one single angel gave way to a multitude of the heavenly host, which broke out into song.  For a moment, try to imagine the sight.  The appearance of a single angel was enough to frighten the shepherds…it’s enough to frighten anyone!  A single angel is powerful enough to destroy thousands of army soldiers in a night – it’s no wonder why people fear to see them!  These shepherds had already been scared to see the one angel, and now the entire night sky was full of them!  Angels as far as they could see – a visible manifestation of the power and glory of God.  And what did they do?  Sing!  Praise their God!  The powerfully proclaimed God’s glory and announced His peace that had come to men.

What was so good that could bring out the angelic armies in this kind of praise?  Jesus.  His birth was so great, so mega-joyful that a single angel was not enough.  Heaven had to be emptied of its ranks before a glimpse of God’s goodness could be seen.  The arrival of Jesus is that good.

Conclusion
So what’s your response to Jesus?  For many, Jesus sits in the background for Christmas.  Sure, there is the occasional nativity scene, and the carol that speaks of the Savior’s birth, but for the most part Jesus is just a supporting character in the larger Christmas season.  The big things for many people are gifts, family, parties, and general good feelings.  None of those things are bad, but none of them are the main thing.  They aren’t the main event.  The main event is the birth announcement – it is Jesus Himself.  A Savior has been born: Christ the Lord.  God came to earth in humility so that we might join Him in glory.  And that is a reason for great joy!

Be joyful this Christmas Day!  Your Savior has come.  God loves you so much that He did not want you to perish in your sins, so He gave His Son as a humble sacrifice for you.  Because Jesus was born, lived among us, died on the cross, and rose from the grave, we can be saved.  We can know God just as assuredly as the angles, and even better: we can know Him as His own sons & daughters. All through the work of Jesus Christ.

So praise Him today.  Be joyful with mega-joy.  If you’ve never done so, turn to Jesus today in true faith.  Let this Christmas be the day you receive the best & the original Christmas gift: Jesus.

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