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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


5. The Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-20)

LUKE 2:8-12
8 There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. 9 Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. 11 For there is born to you, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough.”

Some shepherds were warming themselves around the fire, which they lit on a dark night on the hill of Bethlehem, while their sheep grazed under the open sky. The shepherds passed the time with conversation that drifted from one topic to another. They talked about their town, which became overcrowded with those people who came from other places to be registered with their families in the official census. The shepherds saw many of their friends and neighbors who came to this town with others. Some of the shepherds began to curse the Roman occupation and wish for the coming of the Savior. Then one of them took the rebec and played, expressing his longing for the forthcoming Christ.

Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared in the midst of them as a flash of lightening, making the night as bright as day. His rays pierced their hearts, and they were exceedingly afraid and frightened and their mouths became dry. Their sins became apparent to them, they were convicted by their conscience about their thefts, lies, impurities, and all prejudices, thinking it was the Day of Judgment.

But a gentle voice came out of the fullness of the shining light saying, “Do not be afraid.” Undoubtedly, the shepherds were, as other sinners in the light of God’s holiness. However, the Most Generous Benefactor was not determined to destroy them, as they thought, but to save them. The angel did not only bring them joyful news, but also gave them abundant joy, that is the great joy of God. All true believers swim in the sea of joy when they receive the good tidings of salvation from the merciful Creator. God loves, delivers, and helps us. Hence, darkness disappears and distress ends.

To evangelize is to preach the gospel of victory and to bring the good tidings of divine peace, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the presence of Christ. Do you bring good or bad tidings? Do you cause, in the name of God, comfort, hope, and spiritual revival? Or do you burden your friends with laws and ordinances, which neither they nor you can observe?

Christ was born for all of us. The eternal Holy One is no more a remote vengeful Judge. He offered himself unconditionally though we are sinful. The love of God surpasses our understanding. Believe in the angel’s good tidings, for Christ was born for you as well. God offers himself to you.

The word “today” which the angel spoke to the shepherds, gave them a decisive limit in the history of mankind. It means for us the coming of divinity into our life, i.e. the second birth, for when man is drawn into the sea of God’s love, a new life begins in him. Was Christ born for you today? Did you accept God’s gift for the great feast? Do you still live with no aim or meaning in life? The Savior is born for you today. Believe, realize, and worship, holding fast your divine right.

The angel described to the frightened shepherds in exact terms the meaning of the Son of God’s coming to men:

- He was born in the city of David, as his successor, according to the promise in (2 Samuel 7:12-13). The child in the manger is the divine King whose kingdom is at hand.

- He who is born in a stable is the Savior of the world, and this hero does not save us by means of politics and peace, but redeems us from the chains of sin, the power of death, the temptations of the devil, and the wrath of God at the last judgment.

- The Son of Mary is the true Christ who is anointed with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He is the incarnate Word of God, divine Herald, and Forgiver of sins to the uttermost, who was raised from the dead after he had sacrificed himself a ransom for many. Christ is the slain Lamb of God who is worthy of all worship and praise, having reconciled us with the Father, on the cross. When will you magnify his holy names, entrusting yourself to him in an eternal new commitment?

Christ the Savior is the Lord himself who created the world. He is the Ruler who has control over the history of mankind, the One who made the covenant in the Old Testament, and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father, reigning with him in the union of the Holy Spirit and blessing us with the fullness of blessings in heaven. Did you realize the meaning of Christ’s birth? The righteous Holy One is love. He loves you and intends to dwell in you, to continue in you so that you may become a godly man, full of the spirit of love, and that you may embody the words said by a preacher: “If Christ was born a thousand times in Bethlehem and not in you, then you would remain reprobate forever.”

PRAYER: O divine love, you became incarnate and came down to us to save and redeem. Fill my heart with your essence so that I may live for you and you in me. I thank you with all saints for your birth and coming to us.

QUESTION 23: Why did the angel command the shepherds not to be afraid, but to rejoice?

QUESTION 24: What are the meanings of the titles of Christ in the angel’s statement?


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