Sunday, December 22, 2013

When Angels Sang

Luke 2:8-14.

Angels play an important role within the bible. They are warriors, messengers and ministers on behalf of God’s people. Within the Christmas story they have a most pleasant role to play. They are the first Christmas choir. They have the pleasure of declaring the intent of the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem.

An angel in a modern church play.

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’ is their refrain. We love to read it. We become sentimental over it. However do we have any idea as to what it means?

In what way can we understand ‘Glory to God’ in the birth of Jesus in a peasant’s house? This baby was worshipped at birth, declared king and recognised as Emmanuel (God with us). He also grew up and claimed that His Father and He were one, therefore inferring He is God. This really did cause a lot of commotion with the people. All that being true in what way could the song of the angel’s be about bringing glory to God.

Think about it. Surely this is a most humbling event for the Creator of the Universe. The holy One coming to mix with the fallen and unholy ones. Eternity put on humanity’s dust. The judge of the whole world coming to take upon Himself the condemnation of Heaven against earth’s wickedness. This Jesus was coming to be despised, rejected, spat upon and crucified. Where is the glory in that?

Devotional about the Christmas Baby.

Stranger still is the climatic words of Jesus thirty three years later. ‘Now is my Father glorified.’(John 13:31). How could this be for Jesus was about to face His crucifixion. The glory of Christmas was wrapped up in the horror of Calvary. How? Because through all of this Jesus became the Redeemer of believers, the conqueror of death, the dethroner of the Devil and the destroyer of his kingdom and power. Through Jesus being willing to be made the lowest of the low He has received a Name above every name. How? Through his resurrection! Before Him every knee will bow and every tongue confess He is Lord. This is part of how it was possible for glory to be proclaimed over the birth of the warrior Baby of Bethlehem.

What would be the result of this glory? ‘Peace on earth to those whom He favours.’ If Christmas was to simply bring ‘peace’ then it has failed and failed miserably. Bethlehem could not be the foundation for peace. It was a stepping stone! There were other stones also on the way to creating the presence of peace for people to know in time and eternity. But peace required the destruction of that which prevented or polluted peace. That is why the cross of Christ Jesus is so important. It was there that the penalty of breaking God’s laws was paid. It was there that the corruption of the human heart could be purged and controlled. It was there that the Christmas promise of peace was made possible.

Why then do so many who will sing about peace around this season not enjoy it? Mainly due to their failure to be favoured. How can you be favoured and enjoy the promised peace? Not by singing about a babe in the manger or the man of Nazareth. It is by knowing about the reason for the cross, the wonder of the resurrection and claiming Jesus as Lord and Saviour. He is the Prince of Peace and without Him no person will ever know the truth of the angel’s song.

One day, long promised, this earth will experience the culmination of Christmas and Calvary. This will be when Jesus Christ will reign as the King of the World from Jerusalem. Then the Kingdom of God will bring peace on earth. That is a day we long for!

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