A Savior Is Born
When the angel announced to the shepherds the birth of Jesus he said: "Be not afraid; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Jesus is our Savior! What good news! Let us briefly examine some of the events that surround this glorious announcement.
NO ROOM FOR A SAVIOR (vv.1-8). Luke records an important historical event that took place during the days of Caesar Augustus. Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem because it was the time for enrollment. There was someone else that went with them that day. Mary was carrying the world's Savior inside her. The city was crowded because many had come to be enrolled and there was no room in the inn for Joseph, Mary and our Savior.
Today, the hearts of many are like that little inn of Bethlehem; crowded with sin; crowed with worldly cares, pleasures, prizes and pursuits; and crowed with human wisdom; so much so that they have no room for the Savior in their lives. Jesus said: "Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any may hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). Will you open the door of your heart and give the Savior room in your life?
AN ANGEL'S SERMON (vv.9-14). Outside the city of Bethlehem some shepherds were watching over their flocks by night. Suddenly, an angel appeared to them and said: "Be not afraid..." There was no reason for the shepherds to fear because what the angel was about to say was a glorious revelation from God. The coming of a Savior into the world is a cause for rejoicing, not fear. What did the angel announce?
First, notice the character of his announcement. The angel announced "good tidings of great joy." It is a joyous occasion when a Savior comes into the world and we obey him. Jesus said: "Even so, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth" (Luke 15:10). After the Eunuch believed the good news about Jesus and was baptized, "he went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:39). There is no joy like the joy of salvation from sin.
Second, notice the scope of his announcement. What the angel said was not just for the shepherds, but "to all the people." Jesus is indeed the "Savior of the world" (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14). No race, color, class or gender of people are exempt from salvation. However, all must obey the gospel of Jesus in order to be saved. Speaking of Jesus, the writer of Hebrews said: "he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation" (Hebrews 5:9). Paul wrote that Jesus is "the Savior of the body" (Ephesians 5:23). We must therefore be "baptized into the one body" (1 Corithians 12:13) in order to be saved by the Savior.
Third, notice the substance of his announcement. The angel said that Jesus was "a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Jesus is "Savior" because he saves mankind from sin (Matthew 1:21). Jesus is "Christ" ("Christ" means anointed) because God anointed him to heal all mankind from spiritual illness (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus is "Lord" because he is ruler of all mankind (Acts 10:36). Will you let Jesus save you, heal your spiritual illnesses and rule your life?
Soon this angelic messenger was joined by a multitude of other angels who offered praise to God, saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased." God is to be praised for giving us such a wonderful Savior. Paul wrote: "But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Peace comes to each man when his sin which separates him from God is removed by the blood of Jesus through baptism. Again Paul wrote: "Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). Do you want this peace in your life?
URGENT SHEPHERDS (vv.15-20). What did the shepherds do with this new revelation from God? They showed intense interest. When the angels departed the shepherds immediately made plans to come into Bethlehem to see the Savior, "and they came with haste." When someone is sincere and serious about his own salvation he will make immediate plans to find the Savior. He will search until he finds Jesus. Jesus said: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). On another occasion when he was asked by his disciples, "Lord, are they few that are saved," Jesus said: "Strive to enter in by the narrow door: for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24). Only the urgent, only those who strive, will be saved. The Savior is waiting to be found on the pages of the New Testament. Will you, like the shepherds, make haste to find him?
The enthusiasm of the shepherds did not cease when they found the Savior. When they saw Jesus they "made known concerning the saying which was spoken to them about this child." Their news was to joyous to keep to themselves so they proclaimed to all that could hear. When you have a good thing you want to share it with others. The first century Christians "went about preaching the word" (Acts 8:4).
When we find the Savior and obey him we will return to our daily routine the same way these shepherds did - "glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen..." Sometime after the apostle Paul found the Savior and obeyed him he said: "For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20). Can you say the same?
By Chris Reeves
From Expository Files 1.3; March, 1994