Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests.
It was an angelic throng who were the first evangels that proclaimed the good news of a Saviour, as they abruptly burst through the blackness of night with their joyful news – the Light of God was in the world to bring peace and life to all who would believe. The world needed to know that the Prince of Peace had come to earth to bring hope to a dying race and peace to men of goodwill… peace to all who trust Him as Saviour.
But the evangelistic baton was passed to a few shepherds who were abiding in the fields watching their flocks. They heard the news, believed the angelic message and in humble obedience, promptly followed the instructions and journeyed to Bethlehem.
The world was to know that the promised Messiah had arrived on earth. God could have chosen to send His angelic messengers to whomever He chose, but He ignored kings and religious leaders. He passed over wealthy and popular people and instead reached out to a few simple shepherds, with a simple sign, that dark winter’s night.
What an amazing sign was given to this little band of men… the Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the world was lying in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. What lessons can be drawn from this beautiful story with which we are so familiar. What great examples of humility and obedience can be found in this little scene.
Christ’s own humility can be witnessed in the His insignificant arrival on earth for He emptied Himself of the eternal glory He shared with the Father and came to earth as a helpless babe with nowhere to lay His head but a feeding trough in a borrowed cave. The shepherds instant obedience to the angelic message can be identified through the haste with which they sped to Bethlehem, to see the thing that had come to pass. But the gospel was not for them only – but a message of hope and joy to all people.
The message told of a Saviour, Who was Christ the Lord – born in the city of David. This Messiah of Israel was not to be discovered in a palace, clad in the rich apparel of a king, accompanied by great pomp and ceremony – but in a cow’s feeding trough. The words of the angelic multitude glorified God in the highest and told of peace.. but this was not the sort of peace offered by the world, but an inward tranquillity and rest.
The race of man to whom the angels had been sent were ‘children of wrath’, who were at enmity with the Creator – dead in their sins and without any hope in the world. The peace of which the angels sang was not a universal peace, with goodwill to all men, but a specified peace for men of goodwill – peace with God – through His Son. The peace that was proclaimed by the angelic host was the perfect peace of God, which is the right of those that trust in Christ – the only begotten Son of the Father.
The proclamation of peace on earth did not speak of goodwill among men towards each other – but spoke of the Goodwill of God towards all those who would trust in His only begotten Son as Saviour… to men of goodwill – for the peace of God can only come to man, through the blood of Christ Jesus – our Lord.
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