Summary: Our text tells of a great story and what a friendly coming by a friendly God who is full of goodwill toward mankind.
To You This Day is Born A Saviour
Luke 2: 8 – 15
My guess is that all of you here know the Christmas story…
What makes this story so great?
What makes this story so great is that it is the story of how God comes to us in the friendliest of ways.
Think about it: God who is so great comes to us in the birth of baby Jesus.
What sort of person is afraid of a baby or of a fifteen year old girl?
There is no greater treasure than to know that God comes to us in such a friendly coming as this.
But there is more…
That the Son of God became incarnate, took on human flesh, became one like us, and came so close to us in such a friendly way is a great story. But if the story stopped there, that is all that it would be: a great story! There is more to this story, though. It is that it has a messenger and a message. Without the messenger all we would have is a story and a story teller, but no message – and no sermon!
Listen to this verse from Luke 2 to see if you can spot the messenger and hear the message.
And in that region there were shepherds our in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And the angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people”. Lk 2: 8,9
The messenger is the angel of the Lord.
Our problem is that while we can know that there is a God, there is no natural way for us to identify who God is. How could we get to know Him unless He first made Himself known to us? This is why God sent a messenger.
The messenger was necessary. Unless he came to the shepherds neither they nor we would have know that Christ was born.
The Angelic messenger is what makes this great story even greater. But there is still …
What makes this story even greater yet is the message God gave to His Angel. The message came in two parts. The first began with the words “Do not be Afraid”.
It is proper that people should be afraid before God and His messenger. Who could bear the radiance of God’s glory? Who could stand in the heat of His consuming presence? Who could set their eyes on such Majesty as is His? Who would not tremble with fear before such a Holy God? Except that God has come to us we could not come to Him. His coming to us is what changes everything. The Angel brought a friendly message of God’s coming to us. His is a friendly coming!
Here, God comes to us not as judge but as friend. He comes as the Father of Jesus telling us that He is pleased with us as with His own Son (Lk 2;14). Further, we do not need to be terrified of Him because of His own invitation and command: “Be not afraid!”
Listen some more to these verses from Luke 2 to hear the second part of the message.
And in that region there were shepherds our in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And the angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people”. Lk 2: 8 & 9
The Angel of the Lord came with “good news of a great joy”. Who does not need a message like that? Joy! You might ask: “What is that? What is joy?” Wouldn’t you like a bit of it? But what is it? How do you get it? I do not think that I am at all qualified to tell you about joy. As God’s messenger, though, I can tell you to pursue it, make it a life goal to be filled with joy, after all it is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5: 22 & 23). Won’t you come with me on a journey for the rest of your life to pursue joy? We are instructed, “Seek and you shall find” (Lk 11: 11 – 13).
The word joy in Greek, karis, can be translated gift, grace or joy. Whichever one is used, Jesus is at the heart of the meaning of each of those words.