Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Luke 2:8-14

8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!

Hark! The Herald Angels' Sing, verse 4

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness, now efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Lyrics – Charles Wesley, adapted by George Whitefield

The Original Intent

1) Who are “all the people” the angel references in verse 10?

I have been captivated by this passage since I was a little girl; it’s my favorite part of the Christmas story! Can you imagine what the shepherds saw and heard? What was it like for them to receive such a message? We’re going to dig a little deeper into this passage through the perspective of an often-forgotten verse of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”.

In Haggai 2:7 (KJV), the prophet writes, “and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts.

As with many Old Testament prophecies, there are many layers, but one of the meanings here is about Jesus’ life and ministry. His advent was not just limited to a specific group of people, but for everyone. The angels’ announcement to a group of shepherds emphasized this widespread message!

In those days, the birth of a king would have been announced to royalty, but God chose to first announce Jesus’ birth to a group of ordinary people. Jesus is no ordinary King, but He came clothed in the extravagance of humility! (Luke 1:32-33)

The Everyday Application

1) Who are “all the people” the angel references in verse 10?

The angels’ proclamation to “all the people” was not just for people in the first century, but includes “all the people” today, too! Do you ever stop to think of the birth of Jesus as a global, historical event? We still use Jesus’ birth to define the years on our calendar.

So then, what is the significance of this event to the world today? Wondrously, it’s the same as it was in the first century. Each person is created in the image of God and is yearning for Him, whether they know Him or not. (Acts 17:26-27) If we have this perspective, the gospel is not an imposition, it’s GOOD NEWS.

Does your soul desire a closer relationship with Jesus? As we approach the new year and consider Bible reading plans, take some time to study what it means to really dwell with the Lord. Our Journey Theme, Dwell, is full of ways to practice truly being with the Lord.

How are you sharing the good news of Jesus with others? Christmas is a beautiful time to carry on the mission the shepherds first began as they told all they met of their encounter with Christ. Check out our Journey Theme, Mission!

The Original Intent

2) What is the significance of the birth of the Savior who is the Messiah? (verse 11)

To truly understand the significance of Jesus’ birth, we need to go all the way back to the first book of the Bible, Genesis. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve made a disobedient choice by eating forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge and good and evil, an act directly against God’s command. This decision introduced sin into the world, disrupting what God intended.

As a consequence, God, in His perfect justice, required them to leave the garden. This separation from God was caused by willful disobedience. (Genesis 2:16, Genesis 3:1-6, Genesis 3:22-24)

But, God is always faithful!

Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed, Bruise in us the serpent’s head. In Genesis 3:15, God gives the first announcement of the gospel (“protoevangelium”) as he cursed the serpent, Satan, “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike His heel.

This verse contains a promise of a future Savior who would come from Eve’s offspring and ultimately triumph over the power of sin and Satan, symbolized by the crushing of the serpent’s head. While Satan would symbolically strike Jesus’ heel with his seeming victory at the cross as Jesus hung lifeless, Christ would reign as victor by thoroughly crushing the enemy’s head by conquering death with His resurrection!

This verse is key in understanding the redemption theme of the entire Bible, and the birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise of the Savior! Jesus has come to restore the separation between God and man that has been broken, and perpetuated, by every act of disobedience from Adam and Eve to us!

The Everyday Application

2) What is the significance of the birth of the Savior who is the Messiah? (verse 11)

Understanding the connection between Genesis 3:15 and singing the words of this verse deepens my appreciation for the significance of Christmas. It moves beyond the narrative of the nativity story to reveal profound theological implications I need in my everyday life.

The birth of Jesus is the arrival of the promised Redeemer, the Seed who would bring victory and salvation to humanity. Sin no longer needs to rule in me or my relationships when I surrender to Christ for He has crushed the enemy’s head!

Let’s just sit here for a minute in wonder and awe. Wow! Through Jesus Christ, you and I can have victory over sin in everyday life and salvation from sin’s consequence of eternal death and separation from God. That’s GOOD NEWS.

Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

Does news of this victory make any difference in your life? If so, how? Be an active part of the Christmas story this year and share with someone how Jesus has made a difference to you!

The Original Intent

3) What is meant by the phrase, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!”? (verse 14)

The multitude of heavenly host praise God for the finale of their Good News message in front of the shepherds. This proclamation of “peace on earth” wasn’t about the absence of war, but about the restoration of the broken relationship between God and man that would be possible by the redemptive work of Jesus.

God’s favor would be extended to those who receive Jesus by grace and faith. (Ephesians 2:4-9) He would be found in a humble manger that night, but 30 some years later, He would be hanging, humiliated, from a cross, dying the eternal death and experiencing separation from God we rightly deserve for our sin.

His life was perfect in every way, but He took our punishment and offers His righteousness to us as a glorious, unthinkable exchange if we will accept such a lavish gift. (Romans 6:23)

The theology behind redemption is SO rich, but the hymn writer’s words, Adam’s likeness, now efface, Stamp Thine image in its place:capture the meaning of 1 Corinthians 15:49, And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Sin marred the image of man in Genesis 3, and the Messiah came to heal and replace that image with His own! Praise Jesus, Merry Christmas, and Happy Easter! Blessed are all who call on the Name of the Lord! (Romans 10:13)

The Everyday Application

3) What is meant by the phrase, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!”? (verse 14)

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), it introduced sin to humanity and wreaked havoc on all of us. How has sin affected you, your family, and our world? Here’s a hint, think of anything broken or painful, that’s our marker of sin’s presence.

But God (my favorite words in Scripture!) has a plan of redemption to bring “peace on earth” to you. Yes, you, right now. In Christ, we find healing and restoration. Through new life in Christ, we have adoption into God’s family and forgiveness of sin. (Ephesians 1:5-7) It’s GOOD NEWS.

“Hark the herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King.”

For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. The law came along to multiply the trespass.

But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:18-19)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Have you taken steps to have peace with God through faith in Jesus? If not, what’s holding you back? If you have, are you daily surrendering to Him, letting Him fuel you for His kingdom work and free you from sin’s pull? Romans 8 is a wonderful chapter in Scripture, full of rich truths we could spend a lifetime unpacking and living out. Check out Journey Into Alive for a closer look!

What does having peace with God mean for you today? To be at peace with Him, means to be free from sin’s pull and accusation, so we can live free and dance daily in His delight. What outpouring of peace are you celebrating today? What aspect of peace with Him are you asking Him to make more clear to you this Christmas?

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