When Angels Preached The Gospel

12/1/13

Angels have always played an important role in human history. Consider the most important event in our history – the birth of Christ. Angels were the first ones to preach the message of good news of great joy which shall be to all people.

The What of Christmas – The Angels brought the Good News to a people who were hurting.

  • Good News. During a time of darkness in Israel’s history, the angels brought a profound message – one of good news. The Hebrews were under Roman rule, once again suffering persecution by a conquering nation. They were facing yet another round of taxation as they were ordered to return to their birth places to be taxed. The census also helped the Romans know how many young men were old enough to serve in the military.  It had been over 400 years since there was a prophet in Israel to declare the Word of God so there was spiritual darkness as well. They needed some good news.
  • Of great joy. They needed some joy amid the sorrows they faced, yet they were burdened down and sad   because God had not yet responded with a deliverer.
  • Which shall be to all people. Their message was not limited to the priests or ruling class of the Jews. It was to the shepherds, to Mary and Joseph in the stable because there was no room in the inn; to the common people as well as the religious leaders – a message to anyone who would listen.

2. The Who of Christmas – A Savior who is Christ the Lord.

  • As the angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:21 The child’s name was to be Jesus – a deliverer for his       people.
  • In Luke 2:11, the actual words are: Has been born to you Savior, Christ, Lord, adding extra importance to each of these three words.
  • Isaiah 43:11 says: “I, even I am the Lord and beside me there is no Savior.” His words remind us that even as important as Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson and others were in Israel’s history, this passage is about a divine messiah, sent by God t deliver the people.
  • In 1 Timothy 1:15, the writer stresses that Jesus was sent to Israel – not from political tyranny, but from the devastation of sin.
  • Jesus is our Christ – a word meaning Messiah, used over 500 times in the Bible
  • He was anointed – an act that showed everyone that he had been chosen by God for that particular reason.
  • He was called Lord – a title reserved for God alone

3. The why of Christmas

  • For Man’s salvation. The angel told the shepherds that a savior was born “to you”. No matter that they were poor. It was a personal message of redemption. Martin Luther put it like this, “Of what benefit would it be to me if Christ had been born a thousand times, and it would be daily sung in my ears in a most lovely manner, if I were never to hear that he was born for me and was to be my very own.”
  • Jesus came for the glory of God. As in the angels message, “Glory to God in the highest.”

When the angels preached the Gospel, they proclaimed:

Light instead of darkness
Life instead of death
Joy and exultation instead of anguish and grief
Eternal peace instead of war
Freedom instead of slavery
honor instead of shame
Multiplication instead of loss
And victory instead of defeat.

That’s the good news of Christmas; of New Year’s Day; of Valentine’s Day; of Good Friday; Memorial Day and all our holidays! That’s the good news for all people; the gospel that sets people free; the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. Amen!

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