The Appearance to the Shepherds

We’re going through the New Testament hoping to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Right now, we’re in the gospel of Luke. Already, we’ve seen shades of Trinitarianism and we have yet to even get to the ministry of Jesus. Keep in mind that Luke is a gospel that is written specifically for Gentile believers to tell them about Jesus. I’d also like to extend my thanks to a reader named Mike who apparently is appreciating what is being done here at Deeper Waters. I am pleased you enjoy the blog and I hope you’ll be back again soon.

Today, we’re going to be in Luke 2. Here is the relevant portion.

 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 
 14“Glory to God in the highest, 
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

For those of you who might prefer the audio version, there is a memorable account of it that can be found here:

This takes place right after we hear about the birth of Christ. It is my contention that the shepherds were there the night of the birth of Christ most likely and if not the night, a night very much shortly afterwards. The wise men came later when Jesus was living in a house for those of you who are concerned about supposed contradictions.

I’d also like to point out that the way this passage is translated traditionally is really not the best. It is not mean to be goodwill towards men. The NIV that has been quoted has the idea right. The idea is that there will be peace towards men who are of goodwill. If you’re one of those, the birth of Christ is a good event. If you’re not, then the birth of Christ is your condemnation. One is either on the side of the angels or the side of the demons. There are no fence-sitters.

Let’s notice the title that is given of Jesus here. He is said to be Christ and he is said to be Lord. This message was being proclaimed by angels as well. (Contrary to the Christmas carol, there is no record of them singing) However, let’s note the language used.

The angels do not say “Christ your Lord.”

They say “Christ the Lord.”

Why is that important? This messiah being born is not just one who leads the people. He leads the angels as well. This is the one who is the Lord of the angels. At his birth, he is already Lord and he is already Christ.

I recommend you keep this in mind. As we get further into this study, this will be important. Let’s keep this for now as another reminder of who Jesus is in the minds of the gospel writers.

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