This week, the elders of Emmanuel Baptist Church would like to share with you this blog post written by Pastor Bill Morgan of Grace Baptist Church in Schreiber, Ontario.
In the Gospel of Luke we are given a detailed account of the birth of our Lord. The first two chapters are devoted primarily to that wonderful event in history where God took upon Himself the form of a man. The Bible teaches us: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” (John 3:16) In John’s Gospel we also read: In the beginning was the Word (Jesus Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . . and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14)
When the angel was joined by a multitude of the heavenly host: “. . . praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:13-14) we need to realize that praise was offered to God because His plan of redemption for mankind was going to be realized through the birth, death and resurrection of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Glory was attributed to God because He had devised a plan whereby sinners could be reconciled to a Holy God. Mankind first and foremost needed to have their sins forgiven in order for them to find peace with God. This pronouncement of peace was not given to the religious rulers or to the well-off in society but to the common people who were represented by the lowly shepherds attending their flocks in the fields. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” (Luke 2:8)
God most often visits people in their everyday surroundings – on the job, in the home or at school. The shepherds represent each of us because God has provided His Son to be the Saviour of all mankind. After a remarkable conversion because of Jesus’ teaching, we hear this testimony from believers: “We have heard Him ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” (John 4:41-42) This Christ had been promised when our first parents (Adam and Eve) disobeyed God and needed to be saved from their sin. In Genesis 3:15 the Messiah is introduced as One who would destroy sin and Satan but would also suffer and be wounded.
The angel that appeared to these shepherds said: “Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto us is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) When the angel identified the baby as Christ the Lord the shepherds knew that their promised Messiah, the Anointed One, was being heralded. Their most famous prophet, Isaiah, had already attested: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . . and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Evelasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government (Kingdom of God) and peace there shall be no end. . . . “ (Isaiah 9:6-7) Such wonderful news from God concerning their great need of peace – the peace which they had been searching for all their lives – was now being made available to them at Bethlehem, in the birth of their Saviour, their long-expected Messiah, Christ the Lord. Their response to God’s offer of peace was immediate! “And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:16)
May you, this Christmas, respond to God’s offer of peace through the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. May God’s truth be acceptable to you. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. . . .” (1 Timothy 1:15)