Luke 2:9-12. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them Επεστη αυτοις , stood over them, that is, appeared in a visible form, standing in the air over their heads; and the glory of the Lord shone round about them Not only a great light, but such a glorious splendour as used to represent the presence of God, and was often attended with a host of angels, as here, Luke 2:13. And they were sore afraid At so uncommon and so awful an appearance. And the angel said In the mildest and most condescending manner; Fear not Thus the angel Gabriel had encouraged Zacharias and Mary, Luke 1:12; Luke 1:30. As if he had said, The design of my appearing to you hath nothing terrible in it, but the contrary: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy The original expression here is peculiar, ευαγγελιζομαι υμιν χαραν μεγαλην , I evangelize unto you great joy. So the Vulgate. Or, I announce unto you good tidings, which shall be matter of great joy, and that not only to you, and the Jewish nation in general, but to all people, to the whole human race: for unto you, and all mankind, is born this day, this welcome, blessed day, a Saviour That Isaiah , 1 st, A Deliverer from ignorance and folly, from guilt, condemnation, and wrath, from depravity and weakness, in which the whole human race are involved through the fall of their first parents and their own actual transgressions; in other words, from sin, and all its consequences: 2d, A Restorer (so σωτηρ also means) to the favour and image of God, and communion with him, lost by the same fall: and, 3d, A Preserver, (as the same word also implies,) namely, unto eternal life; one as willing as able to keep such as perseveringly believe in him, through faith, unto final salvation; to keep them from falling, and to present them faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. Who is Christ The Messiah, the divinely appointed Prophet, Priest, and King of his people; their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; and who is sufficiently qualified to sustain these unspeakably important offices and characters, because he is the Lord, God as well as man, God manifest in the flesh, the Lord that in the beginning laid the foundations of the earth, &c., Hebrews 1:10; and without whom was not any thing made that was made, John 1:3; Colossians 1:16. The message refers to Isaiah 9:6, Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And this shall be a sign unto you The angel gives them a sign for the confirmation of their faith in this important matter. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling-clothes, &c. Doubtless they would expect to be told that they should find him, though a babe, dressed up in fine robes, and lying in state, in the best house of the town, with a numerous train of attendants: no, you will find him lying in a manger. And surely they might know him by this token, for what other babe could be found in so mean a condition? For the shepherds to have found the Messiah lying in a manger, might have scandalized them. It was therefore very proper that the angel should forewarn them of this circumstance, and make it the signal whereby they should distinguish him. When Christ was here on earth, he distinguished himself, and made himself remarkable, by nothing so much as the instances of his humiliation.
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