And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10, 11).

The message of the angel, though concise, was comprehensive and full. It contained, (1) the fact, “Unto you is born this day,” (2) the place, “In the city of David,” that is, in Bethlehem, so called, because David likewise had been born there, (3) the office of the Messiah, “A Saviour,” (4) His name, honour, and character, “Christ the Lord.”

Fear Not

The fright that came upon the shepherds as poor mortal men thus coming in contact with the Lord’s glory and his angels in the dead of night is to cease, for it is blessing, yea, the absolute supreme blessing for mortal men that is thus revealed to these shepherds. The Gospel for sinners always must begin with “fear not,” for it removes sin and fear. With “for” the angel justifies the command, and with “behold” exclaims at the greatness of this justification. But he first states the effect, and then the cause, first the joy, then the birth that produces the joy.


While it is natural that man should be afraid when the invisible, the unknown, suddenly becomes visible to him, the angel, now that Christ has been born, comes with the words “Fear not!” He does not, however, leave it at that, but gives the reason why they need have no fear. He brings to them the glorious tidings that in Bethlehem, the city of David, on that day, the promised Messiah has at length been born. The hope of the centuries has been fulfilled. For this reason the tidings are joyful to them and to all the people.


Joyful Tidings

What are these joyful tidings? What was the content of this report? Why, “This day is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord.” It is only this, “A Saviour is born; a way of escape is provided,” and farther they do not proceed. Yet this they say is a matter of great joy; as it was indeed. It is so to every burdened, convinced sinner, a matter of unspeakable joy and rejoicing. Oh, blessed words! “A Saviour is born!” This gives life to a sinner, and opens “a door of hope in the valley of Achor,” the first rescue of a sin-distressed soul.


It is still proclaimed in our ears that to us is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord. These should be glad tidings to all, for in them all our hopes centre, and from them all our comforts flow. What an auspicious mom was that which brought so great a blessing to mankind! What a joyful day is that which first conveys the sound of the gospel to our ears! But most happy for us is that hour in which we are enabled to believe in Christ for the salvation of our souls. If real Christians deem it proper to commemorate the birth of Christ at a season set apart for that purpose, they will not do it with revellings and feastings, but with abundant thanksgivings to God, and liberality to their poorer brethren.

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Lord And Saviour

Christ Jesus, the only Son of God, is our Lord in three ways: first, by creation, in that he made us of nothing when we were not; second, he is our Lord by the right of redemption; third, he is the head of the Church (as the husband is the head of the wife) to rule and govern the same by his word and spirit.


Our Saviour is called in the Old Testament the Messiah, and in the New Testament the Christ; and both words import that he was the Anointed One. This designation is given to him, in allusion to the rite by which persons were consecrated to their offices under the former dispensation, namely, by being anointed with oil. This rite was observed in the case of the three offices which were most celebrated, those of prophet, priest, and king.


Hear that message of the angel in the world as it was, a world lacking joy, that had heard no good tidings for a generation, that was afraid in its heart of the tyranny of oppression. Then … there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Saviour—confronting all the sin of the world with regal authority, based upon redeeming power. Christ—confronting all the chaos of the world, the Messiah, who will be able to realize the true hegemony, the Kingdom of God. Lord—the One who confronts all eternity and all ages, and He is born.


Like Matthew 1:21, this passage clearly indicates that to the circle in which Jesus moved his coming as the Messiah was connected with the great series of prophecies which promised the advent of Jehovah for the redemption of his people, as truly as with those which predicted the coming of the Davidic King. The terms, “a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” are, indeed, an express combination of the two lines of prophecy, and import that the Child who was born in the city of David was both the promised Redeemer of Israel and the Anointed King that was to come.… This Child is at once a Saviour, the promised Messiah, and Sovereign Lord of men and angels—for it is an angel who speaks these words.… There is here a declaration that in this Child born in the city of David, the functions of Redemption, Messiahship and Supreme Lordship are united.

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To All People

Though the angel addresses the shepherds alone, yet he plainly states, that the message of salvation which he brings is of wider extent, so that not only they, in their private capacity, may hear it, but that others may also hear. For God had promised Christ, not to one person or to another, but to the whole seed of Abraham. If the Jews were deprived, for the most part, of the joy that was offered to them, it arose from their unbelief; just as, at the present day, God invites all indiscriminately to salvation through the Gospel, but the ingratitude of the world is the reason why this grace, which is equally offered to all, is enjoyed by few. Although this joy is confined to a few persons, yet, in respect to God, it is said to be common. When the angel says that this joy shall be to all people, he speaks of the chosen people only; but now that “the middle wall of partition” (Eph. 2:14) has been thrown down, the same message has reference to the whole human race. For Christ proclaims peace, not only “to them that are nigh,” but to them that are “far off” (Eph. 2:17), to “strangers” (Eph. 2:12) equally with citizens.


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