8 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 I.e. Messiah Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men Lit of good pleasure; or of good willwith whom He is pleased."
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
If any group understood the glory of the Lord in the birth of baby Jesus, it was the angels. The role of the angels in the story of Christ’s birth ushered in a divine movement of worship and awe.
An angel, most likely Gabriel, appeared to a flock of shepherds (v. 9). The shepherds’ wonder at the angel’s announcement came in the form of fear (v. 8). “The glory of the Lord” was a bright light — in the midst of the darkness of night — indicating God's glorious presence.
Yet the Lord insisted upon the shepherds’ reverence over their fear. Through the angel, the Lord calmed the shepherds’ fears in favor of great joy (v. 10).
The angel’s announcement of Jesus’ title, “Savior...Christ the Lord,” bears great significance: “Savior” means “deliverer, redeemer,” while “Christ” literally means “Messiah,” or “anointed one.” “Lord” was often a title given to secular rulers, but it’s also the standard translation of God’s name in Hebrew, Yahweh.
The shepherds would have been full of wonder and confusion when they heard that the promised Jewish Messiah would be lying in a feeding trough.
And yet through angelic intervention, the Lord opened the shepherds’ hearts toward praise. At the mention of Christ’s name, a multitude of angels joined the shepherds in the field and began praising God, giving Him glory and blessings (vv. 13-14).
Note that upon the angels’ praise, the shepherds were stirred toward immediate obedience (v. 15-16). And thus began a piling on of praise: the shepherds left “glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen” (v. 20).
The angels were no longer alone in their adoration of the Christ child.
- What role did the angels play in not only announcing Christ’s birth to the shepherds, but also inspiring the shepherds’ praise of God?
- How does your worship of Jesus inspire others to worship Him?
- Praise Jesus for being the Anointed One, the promised Messiah and rescuer of mankind. Pray that your worship of Jesus would inspire others to look at Him in awe and wonder, too.