Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Luke 2:10b (Robertson’s Translation) “For, lo, . . .”
Don’t miss the little word “lo.” Holman uses “look.” The King James Version maybe captures the angel’s intent best, “behold.” We could rightly say, “Huzzah! Hear, hear. Listen up. This is worth paying close attention to.”
Luke 2:10c “I am bringing you good tidings of great joy.”
“Good tidings, great joy” – both are emphatic, as if this would be bigger news and better joy than had ever been received before. “Good tidings, great joy” – any who make the Gospel boring should be ashamed of themselves. The story of what Jesus has done for us should never be as dry as dust.
It’s a sad day when the glow is gone from our preaching and teaching and living. Has the fire cooled in your life? Has the honeymoon between us and Jesus ended? Maybe the best gift we could receive this Christmas would be the rekindling of an old blaze within us individually. “Good tidings, great joy.”
Luke 2:10d “Which will be to all the people.”
For people, not angels. The good angels never fell. They need no redemption. The bad angels sinned so heinously by rebelling in God’s presence that redemption was never offered to them. Hell was immediately made for the devil and his bad angels (Matthew 25:41).
The bad angels’ condemnation was absolute and instant, but humans are given time. They have a chance. Tell it to everyone, to all the people. Because of Christmas, all people could for the first time realize they were made to know God and be known by Him, to love the only true living God, and be loved by Him.
“Good tidings, great joy, all people” – this includes us today, 2000 years later. Be thankful the Star of Bethlehem never has set, and never will (Spurgeon).
Luke 2:11a “Because there is born to you today, in the city of David, . . .”
“Born to you” – not “to us.” When we the redeemed rise to sing “Amazing Grace” in Heaven, angels will have to fold their wings and listen. These are things they longed to look into (I Peter 1:12b), but never experienced.
“Today” – what day? The day foreordained in the councils of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in eternity past, long before time and days had been conceived. Don’t miss the pearl here. God knew in advance we would sin, and the Son would have to die for our sins. He created us anyway. He loved us before we were. Then at the precise moment most needed, Jesus came.
“The city of David” – the King of Kings was born in the hometown of Israel’s most beloved king, in Bethlehem, as Micah (5:2) the prophet had predicted 700 years earlier.
Luke 2:11b “. . . a Savior,. . .”
What does our Savior save us from? He rescues the lost, those who are aimlessly wandering, trying in vain to find a way to God. He delivers the sinful, lifting from our shoulders the unbearable weight of our sin. He saves the perishing, people racing toward a Christless eternity.
What do wandering lost people need? A course in how to use compasses? A lecture about never again travelling alone? No. They need a guide. Someone to take them by the hand, to walk beside them and show the way.
What do sin-carrying, guilty people need? A book on how to best distribute weight on our shoulders? An exercise program to build up strength in our arms? No. They need someone to lift the burden, to pick it up.
What do perishing people need? Lectures on how flotation devices work? No. They need a hand to reach down with a strong grip. Their first need is to get pulled up out of the water and brought to safety.
When Caesar Augustus issued his decree, the human race did not need an advisor, a confidant, or a philosopher. The world had already advised, confided, and philosophized itself into oblivion. We needed a Savior, a God with tears in His eyes. A Savior, a God with a strong grip and mighty arms, yet tender. A Savior, a God who came to rescue us, and still comes to deliver today.