And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.Luke 2:10-14 ASV
Fear has ever been the bane of human existence on earth, ever since the fall from Eden. Man is born with only two fears, that of falling and that of a loud noise; but, to these, his experience quickly adds many more, and his fertile imagination countless others. The calming of mortal fears has frequently engaged God’s concern, as in this instance through his angels.
The good news announced by the angels was not merely for Israel, but for Gentiles and all men.
It is not correct to view the universalism of Luke’s Gospel as being due to any conscious choice on his part, selecting only the material that would convey this; because in this very episode we have Luke the Gentile recording the first announcement of Jesus’ birth, not to Gentiles, but to Jewish shepherds.
Three titles of the Son of God were announced by the angels.
“Saviour” has reference to Jesus’ office as the sin-bearer, the procurer of salvation for the sons of men, a salvation which, preeminently above everything else, was the remission of their sins and restoration of the fellowship lost in Eden.
Although the term had been corrupted by the base and foreign elements of meaning imported into the title by the carnal and malignant secularism of the religious hierarchy, it had the true meaning that Jesus was the divine head of the theocracy, the lawful ruler of Israel, the promised Son of David who would usher in the great kingdom, misunderstood by the Jews as a mere resurrection of the low kingdom of Solomon.
The preference Luke showed for the title “The Lord” in his record of Jesus’ life and teachings is alleged by the critics to have been the cause of his using it in such contexts as this, “retroactively,” thus denying that Luke really reported here exactly what the angels said.
Such a view is totally unworthy of acceptance. Rather, it is in the use of the term “Lord’ by Elizabeth and by the angels, etc. which accounts for Luke’s preference for it.
This Gospel was written only thirty years after the events related; and the widespread use of “Lord” as a title of Jesus Christ, as evidenced by the writings and preaching of Paul, with whom Luke had been a traveling companion for many years, postulates that there was a cause for such widespread acceptance of the title; and that cause is evident in the event here, in which the angels of God called Jesus “Lord.”
A host of angels is represented in the Old Testament as forming the bodyguard of Deity (Psalms 103:21; Daniel 7:10).
This praise was a proclamation of the newborn King and a confirmation of the glorious tidings to the shepherds, and through them to all people.
Angels shouted for joy at creation (Job 38:7), served at the giving of the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 33:2; Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19); and now, with greater wonder than ever, and with even greater joy, they celebrated the entry of God into human life.
“Peace” was proclaimed by angels on the night in which the Prince of Peace was born.
The variations of the renditions of “peace to men of good will,” “peace on earth; good will to men,” or as here, are of no importance, although this version is preferable, due to the fact of its keeping in view the truth that it is not “good will to men” who are wicked, but “good will to men” who honor God, which was promised and proclaimed by the angelic host.
Did the angels sing on this occasion?
“The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7) in creation; and there can be no doubt, really, that they did so here.
However, there is no New Testament word to confirm the comment that “The choir which so suddenly joined the angelic messenger sang heavenly music about the Prince of Heaven.”