Today’s Scrip-Bit   25 December 2022 Luke 2:14.

Luke 2:14.       Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men

MERRY CHRISTMAS !

It’s Christmas Day my people! Glory to God! At long last the Big Day is here, when we celebrate the marvellous and most miraculous birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Wow! He is the best present we’ve ever had! Couldn’t be a better one either! For He was born so that our sins could be paid for, so that we could have the option of salvation and eternal life. And for that we give Him much thanks and praise! This year, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, and there’s no better day to have all the pomp and pageantry than on the Lord’s Day. 

So, let’s open up with a classic old hymn, written by the renowned hymnist, Charles Wesley (1707-1788). It’s a most appropriate song of praise and worship titled ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing.’ Some people sing it slow and dirge-like, but today we’ll sing it in a lively, up-tempo beat, effectively showcasing the joy and gratitude we truly feel over the incarnate birth of our Immanuel, two thousand years ago, and who is still going as strong as ever. In fact, He’s stronger than when He lived on earth. 

Therefore, with voices of sacrificial praise, in sweet, heartfelt harmony, let’s deliver up our song to heaven. Singing: ‘Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King: peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful, all ye nations, rise, join the triumph of the skies; with the angelic hosts proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” (Refrain: Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King”) 

Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord, late in time behold him come, offspring of the Virgin’s womb: veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the ‘incarnate Deity, pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel. [Refrain] Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings. Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die, born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth. [Refrain]’ 

Oh my people, we did a fantastic job of letting heaven know how grateful we are for Jesus! No doubt about it! And it’s such a wonderful song with all kinds of scriptures intertwined. I like this commentary on it: ‘Containing biblical phrases from Luke, John, and Paul, the text is a curious mixture of exclamation, exhortation, and theological reflection. The focus shifts rapidly from angels, to us, to nations. The text’s strength may not lie so much in any orderly sequence of thought but in its use of Scripture to teach its theology. That teaching surely produces in us a childlike response of faith; we too can sing “Glory to the newborn King!” 

And is that ever the gospel truth! Now let’s look at some of those scripture verses that the song emphasizes. It opens with Luke’s telling of the Christmas night story, where an angel suddenly appeared to shepherds out in the fields, scaring them half to death, then telling them of the birth of Christ in the nearby town of Bethlehem. While he was telling them the good news of the Saviour’s birth, the Good Book declares: ‘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, good will toward men.’ (Luke 2:13-14) 

Yes friends, that’s where the herald angels sang. And in the next line, Wesley throws in the aspect of reconciliation, most likely from Bruh Paul’s words to the Corinthians. ‘To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.’ (2 Cor. 5:19) And are we ever glad for that ministry of reconciliation! 

And the first part of the next verse seems to reflect Bruh Paul’s words from Galatians. ‘But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made (born) of a woman, made (born) under the law.’ (Gal. 4:4) And there’s no doubt that the last part of that verse relates to the first chapter of John’s gospel, in particular, verse 14. ‘And the Word was made flesh (became flesh), and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:14)

Now, per the last verse, there are a number of scriptures that seem to be referenced, the first and most notable being that favourite scripture from Isaiah. ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ (Is. 9:6) Then there are these referenced sentiments from the prophet Malachi: ‘But unto you that fear (reverence) my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall (grow fat like stall fed calves.)’ (Mal. 4:2) 

And we all know where ‘Mild he lays his glory by,’ comes from. That favourite scripture from Philippians 2: ‘Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made (came) in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ (Phil. 2:6-8) 

And the last referenced scripture comes from 1 Peter. Those famous verses we all know and LOVE. (smile) ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-4) 

Ah my people, how wonderful is the Word of God eh! It’s just filled with so many marvellous prophecies and promises, one of the best being the birth of our Lord and Saviour on this Christmas Day some two thousand years ago, that began God’s reconciliation and our salvation. Wow! It is only right that today we should praise and honour our Triune God for all the good things He’s done for us, His greatest, but most disobedient creation! So, let’s enjoy the day; eat drink and be merry, ‘and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Neh. 8:10) Much LOVE!

…without the incarnate birth of Jesus…there’d be no Christmas season… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ   

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