A Sign to You

Painting by Thomas Cole And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:8-15 NIV)

The angelic appearance and announcement of the Savior's birth is both astounding and revealing. It reveals the unexpected way God fulfilled the expected arrival of the Jewish Messiah.
  • Yes, it was announced by angels, but to people of low reputation (the shepherds)
  • The sign given wasn't the miraculous display of glory in the heavens above them, it was a baby in a feeding trough
  • The birth and announcement didn't come to the religious leaders in Jerusalem, but to uneducated, itinerant herders of sheep
  • This Messiah—Jesus, the Son of David—did not come as expected and would not be accepted by the leaders of Israel
  • He wasn't what they wanted, but He was what everyone needed, including us

This good news was "great joy for all the people." In other words, redemption and restoration wasn't limited to Israel. It wasn't exclusive, but inclusive of all nations.

And yet, God's peace was for those "on whom his favor rests." Those who accepted this Messiah for who He was—the Savior of the world. For those who trusted in Him with all their soul, and who trust in Him now.