Good News for All People
Read Luke 2:9-12 (ESV)
And an 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.”
What do we learn from today’s verses that confirm that Jesus is the long-foretold Messiah?
Sometimes I think the story of Jesus’ birth becomes so familiar to us that we forget to marvel at the details and what they reveal to us about who Jesus is. The angelic announcement of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds was incredibly significant because of the details about Jesus that it highlights.
Imagine that you are a shepherd at that time watching your flock at night and trying not to nod off. When suddenly, the sky is lit up with brilliant light and an angel begins speaking to you about a baby being born. It would be obvious to you that this is no ordinary birth announcement. There must be something incredibly special about this particular baby. And if this new baby is so important, why in the world is His birth being announced to dirty shepherds out in the country? Why isn’t His birth being proclaimed among the royals in the palaces?
But it wasn’t a mistake or an accident that the angel appeared to shepherds rather than royalty. It was intentional because this “good news of great joy” is not just for the important people of the world. It was, and still is, good news “for all people,” even those as lowly as shepherds.
The angel declared that this baby was born in the city of David, meaning Bethlehem, David’s birthplace. The fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem fulfills the Messianic prophecy of Micah 5:2: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”
Then, the angel called the baby three very significant titles. First, the angel called Him a “Savior.” Yesterday, we read in Matthew 1:21 that an angel told Joseph that Jesus would save the people from their sins. The name Jesus or “Yeshua” in Hebrew means “Yahweh saves.” Jesus is the Savior of the world!
The angel also referred to this baby as “Christ.” We get the title Christ from the Greek translation and the title Messiah from the Hebrew translation, but both mean the “anointed one” or the “chosen one.” The Jews had been waiting and longing for the coming of this Messiah, this Christ. Many prophecies foretold that God had chosen and anointed someone who was coming to redeem, rescue, and restore them.
Finally, the angel called this baby “Lord.” Whenever “lord” is written with a capital L, it signifies deity. Just as Thomas declared, “My Lord and my God!” about Jesus in John 21:28, so the angel declared that the baby born in Bethlehem is our Lord and our God.
But the angel didn’t just tell the shepherds to take his word for it. God provided the shepherds with a sign so that they could be confident that the angel was telling the truth. This baby would be wrapped up and laid in an animal’s feeding trough, an unusual place for a baby. And yet, if the shepherds did indeed find a baby swaddled up in a manger, how could it be a coincidence? How many babies could there be that were born that very night in Bethlehem and placed in a trough?
Luke 2:15-20 records that after the angel left, the shepherds rushed to Bethlehem to see if it was true and it was just as the angel had said. They found Jesus swaddled in cloth and lying in a manger. In response, they praised God.
Friends, we can be confident that what the shepherds experienced was not a coincidence. God has been incredibly gracious in providing us evidence that Jesus is who He said He was and who others claimed Him to be—”a Savior, Christ the Lord.” And this isn’t just good news for important people or for really good people. This is really, really good news for ALL people.
Jesus, You are my Lord and my God! You are my Savior and You are the promised Messiah. Thank you, Lord, that Your Gospel message is good news for all people. I believe it and I trust You for the forgiveness of my sins and for my salvation. Amen.