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Glory to God in the Highest | Luke 2:8-20


Read Luke 2:8-20

 

God has a plan.  God had a plan.  God’s plan is continuing to unfold, it is continuing to work and it will happen.  Nothing can stop God, God is sovereign and He reigns above all of this, Glory to God in the Highest.

 

The Point:  Nothing can stop God’s will and God’s plan.  God’s glory will reign forever.

 

The definition of: “Glory.”  :  honor, renown, an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God. 

 

“doksa corresponds to the OT word, kabo (OT 3519, ‘ to be heavy’) both terms convey God’s infinite, intrinsic worth (substance and essence).  –Joseph Henry Thayer

 

“Glory to God in the highest,And on earth peace among men [g]with whom He is pleased.”

--Luke 2:14

 

 

1.      The kingdom of God invaded a world full of turmoil, chaos, evil government leadership and normal people living normal lives.  God works extraordinary miracles in ordinary situations.

 

The single greatest moment is contained in Luke 2:8-20.  The birth of Christ is the fulfillment of OT prophecy, fulfilling God’s word and promises to be true. To get even more specific we have a moment filled with glory out on an empty field, in front of lowly shepherds with an angel declaring:

 

“ Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a [l]virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name [m]Immanuel. “

--Isaiah 7:14

 

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;And the government will [i]rest on His shoulders;And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,On the throne of David and over his kingdom,To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousnessFrom then on and forevermore.”

--Isaiah 9:6-7

 

These are just two of the 11 or so prophecies found in the OT about the coming of Jesus Christ, the savior of the world.  When King AHAZ was given this prophecy in Isaiah 7, He was living in a time of turmoil and chaos.  Ephraim and Assyria were coming after Judah, King Ahaz was cornered and afraid, God had given Him this promise, a sign to look for so that Ahaz could have God’s peace and joy.  God was also showing that He has power over every earthly kingdom and force, nothing can stop God’s plan. 

 

“This happened in a public place, with other travelers and residents. “Men were trafficking, and little children playing, and women gossiping beside the well – and lo! The kingdom of heaven was among them.”

--Stephen D. Morrison

 

“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. [b]This was the first census taken while [c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.”

--Luke 2:1-3

 

This sets up the context of the time and shows how God’s hand was in every aspect of the fulfilment of His prophecy

 

As he sat in his palace and made his decree, he thought it was the supreme exercise of his will, the ultimate flexing of his muscle. But he was just a tool in God’s hand. God had promised that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), and that promised would be fulfilled. So how does one get a young couple from Nazareth down to Bethlehem when they might not be inclined to travel? Simple. Just work through the political “savior of the world,” and use him as a pawn in your plan.

 

We also see that Caesar Augustus, for all his accomplishments, couldn’t really be the answer. God allowed Caesar Augustus to rise to unheard of human power for many reasons; in some ways, he was like a Roman John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus. At the end of the story, what is important is Jesus. Who does the world know more today – Jesus or Caesar Augustus? Who has a more lasting legacy?

 

When it comes to establishing His legacy and glory; God wanted many people to be involved in His son’s birth which is why He called the shepherds to come to Him.  He wanted many to witness the miracle of God becoming a part of humanity as a baby. 

 

2.      God’s glory is for the world to see.  God wanted witnesses the moment Christ entered the world.  God Brings Humanity true Peace.

 

God calls the shepherds to come and be witnesses of God’s kingdom invading earth. 

 

"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 [e]Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a [f]manger.”

--Luke 2:8-12

 

Witnessing is very important in scripture.  Matthew 18:20 describes that “where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them.”   The very basis of the early church is based around witnessing and going out on mission to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We even see this in the great commission, the last greatest command that Jesus gave to the disciples.  The witness of these humble shepherds is so important.

 

These shepherds were typically seen as social outcasts, it was a dirty and inglorious job to do, but these shepherds were witnesses of an angelic order, the angel was preaching the gospel.

 

There are so many religions and so many pagan myths that call for a savior of the world.  Even the pagans of the first century world sensed this need for peace and a savior. Epictetus, a first century pagan writer, expressed this: “While the emperor may give peace from war on land and sea, he is unable to give peace from passion, grief, and envy; he cannot give peace of heart, for which man yearns for more than even outward peace.” –Enduring Word Commentary

 

ii. The contrast between the angelic glory and the humble Jesus must have seemed extreme. God loves to put His glory in unlikely packages so His glory is more clearly displayed 

 

“Let God have all the glory, so we may have the peace.” –John Trapp

 

 

3.      We receive God’s glory by being in God’s presence.  It fills us with hope, peace, generosity and joy.

 

“ So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the [h]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.”

--Luke 2:16-20

 

There is so much happening here. The angels confirmed to the shepherds that what would happen and what they will see will be because of God and God alone.  In this moment we see God’s community at work.  Mary is encouraged by seeing and hearing the shepherds (and what they heard from the angel).  She treasures this in her heart.  It all but confirms what the angel Gabriel said to her earlier in Luke 1.

 

 God continues to reassure and confirm that He is at work in every aspect of this situation. The shepherds leave as missionaries, they go along to speak of what they felt and saw.  They go to share the good news of Jesus Christ and God fulfilling the many prophecies of the OT.

 

Again, God continues to work in unexpected ways.  The shepherds show up to a gross sight. A manger of animal feces, with Mary, Joseph and a baby, yet they do not question what they are seeing.  They have enormous faith in what they have heard and what they are finally seeing.

 

“It is a lovely thought that the shepherds who looked after the Temple lambs were the first to see the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”—William Barclay

 

The Point:  Nothing can stop God’s will and God’s plan.  God’s glory will reign forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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