Christ the Lord
“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:8-11).
The birth of Jesus was announced by angels. An angel appeared to Mary. (Lk.1:26-38). An angel appeared to Joseph. (Matt.1:18-25). Now an angel, in the company of “a multitude of the heavenly host” (vs.13), appeared to a group of shepherds. We are told that “an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them.” This alone would have been enough to frighten the shepherds out of their wits. But, in addition to the angel, we are told that in this night setting, “the glory of the Lord shone around” the shepherds. “They were terribly frightened” is literally, “they were afraid with great fear”. This is an idiomatic expression that shows us the great intensity of the fear they experienced. This majestic glory of the Lord refers to God’s Shekinah glory.
The Shekinah glory of God descended on our world during Israel’s exodus from Egypt (Exod.13:21-22); at Sinai (Exod.24:16-17); at the dedication of the tabernacle (Exod.40:34-35); and at the dedication of the temple (1Kings 8:10-11). Now, once again, the Shekinah glory of God has descended on our world for the announcement of the birth of God’s Son. The Shekinah glory will appear one more time when Jesus returns a second time. Matt.25:31 says, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.”
In contrast to the shepherds’ fear, the angel said, “I announce to you good news of great joy”. Good news is literally the gospel. And the gospel is the message about Jesus. In this instance it is a message about the birth of Jesus and a descriptive identification of Him. The good news is also a message of “great joy”. The good news of great joy is for the shepherds. The good news of great joy is for all the people. The good news of great joy is for Israel and for all the world. The good news of great joy is that “today” the promised Messiah has been born. The long-awaited fulfillment of God’s promises has taken place. The first promise was made in Gen.3:15. “Today” marks a turning point in the history of the world.
The angel said, “there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The Child is described as Savior, Christ, and Lord. The great joy is that the promised Messianic Savior has been born. The word “Savior” refers to one who is a deliverer. In the O.T. God is repeatedly described as Savior. For example, Psa.106:21 says, “[Israel] forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt.” Isa.43:3 says, “I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isa.45:21-22, “there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me, Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” In Lk.1:46-47 Mary said, “My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Jesus, the Son of God, is Savior? Why? The angel said in Matt.1:21, “you shall call His name Jesus, for He Himself will save His people from their sins.” Jesus is called “Savior” sixteen times in the New Testament. In Tit.2:13 Jesus is “our great God and Savior.” And in 2Pet.1:1 Jesus is “our God and Savior”.
The Child is also “Christ the Lord.” Luke’s Greek statement, Christos Kurios, is better translated, “He is Messiah-Lord”. A similar expression in found in Lk.23:2. Jesus is Christon Basilea, “Messiah-King”. The idea is not that Jesus is the Messiah of the Lord. The idea is that Jesus is the Messiah who IS the Lord. Jesus is the Messiah who IS the King. In Lk.1:32 Jesus is called “the Son of the Most High.” In vs.35 He is called “the Son of God”. Now He is called “Messiah-Lord”. When the angel said “Messiah- Lord” to the shepherds, what would the shepherds have heard? The shepherds would have heard “Messiah-Yahweh”. Consider the astounding nature of this angelic announcement : the Baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger is Savior, Messiah, Yahweh.
The message of the gospel is that “Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners.” (1Tim.1:15). The God of heaven came into this world as a Man to die on the cross in order to save sinners from the greatest peril they are facing. That greatest peril is eternal punishment in the eternal fires of hell. (Matt.25:41, 46). And so Jesus invites you, “Turn to Me and be saved.” And with the apostle Paul, “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2Cor.5:20). There is only one Savior of sinners, and that is, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (Jn.14:6). Jesus said, “unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” (Jn.8:24). And Peter said before the Jewish religious rulers called the Sanhedrin Council, “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
Are you saved from the greatest peril you are facing? Are you delivered from the coming final judgment and the wrath of God? Jesus came to propitiate that wrath (1Jn.4:10) and to save you. I urge you, turn to Jesus today and be saved.