- Baptist Beacon
The universal gift of God from above
by Nathaniel Bishop, Sr.
DETROIT, MI – The recording in Luke’s Gospel brings us to focus on the heavenly announcement of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds which were keeping watch of their flock by night; truly this was God’s blessings from above. This announcement by the Angelic Host from heaven was spoken directly to the shepherds, but it carries a universal message for all of mankind and for all ages.
The appearance and the message of the Angelic Host as recorded in chapter 2, verses 9 - 10 were quite plain, but yet it was an amazing event and quite astonishing to the shepherds. The announcement of ‘good tidings of great joy,’ to all people, ever rings true for today. In addition to the royal announcement the shepherds were given further information revealing unto them, ‘Born this Day, in the city of David (Bethlehem) a Savior, which is Christ (Messiah) the Lord (Verse 11).
Looking at this account of what took place by the supernatural power of God; these shepherds, no doubt, in their daily and nightly task of keeping the flock safe and well-guarded, were emotionally startled by this heavenly appearance, the glorious message, and the invitation to go and see with their own eyes, the Christ Child.
No doubt being startled, they were equally overwhelmed to be given such a privilege of seeing the glory of the heavens opening and observing the appearance of the Angelic Host; As well as receiving the message of the Christ Childbirth in Bethlehem (House of Bread) and the invitation to go and see. Those shepherds were honored by God to witness this great biblical event which is deeply rooted in the prophecy of Old.
Although, Christmas is a celebration throughout our world, and some acknowledge Jesus’ birth was in Bethlehem, where He was born in a manger. It is very unfortunate that despite the birth of the Christ Child and the biblical impact of God’s Gift, there have been many who have missed out on seeing God’s plan and true purpose of the coming of the Messiah. Through the prophecies of old, God spoke of the coming of the Messiah (The Anointed One), and the divine impact of the birth was to have on all of God’s creation.
God, who is omniscient, in His foreknowledge had already arranged for the coming of the Messiah. Going back to Genesis 3, we read the account of Adam and Eve, and the Serpent which had a devastating part, in Adam and Eve's fall and separation from God. Here in this 3rd chapter, where Adam Eve disobeys God’s commandment, God pronounced the punishment upon the serpent. Because of what the serpent did, God placed a curse on the serpent, and the serpent would undergo a metamorphosis and the ‘Seed of the Women, would bruise his head, and the serpent would bruise His heel.’
From this passage of Genesis 3:14 and 15, we have what is known as the ‘Protoevangelium,’ (the first mention of the good news), God’s plan and promise as His divine way to bring about “Restoration, Reconciliation, and Redemption,” for mankind. By sin entering into God’s creation, which brought the sinful nature of mankind, as well as death, destruction, and separation from God, who is holy and righteous.
So, from Genesis 3, we have the plan and promise of God to bring about salvation to mankind, because of His great love for His creation (Ephesians 2:4). God’s prophecy allowed us to see His divine hands moving throughout scripture and raising prophets up, to prophesy about the Messiah. God used the prophets of old to foretell the coming (Genesis 3:15), the how (Isa. 7:14), the when (Daniel 9:25-26), the where (Micah 5:2), the tribe (Genesis 49:10), and the glorious salvation for all of mankind (Isaiah 53:3-5). All of this was preordained by our Sovereign God.
The appearance and message made to the shepherds and their invitation to go and see the Christ Child is the fulfillment of God’s love and universal gift to mankind.
Christmas isn’t just another holiday, but it is a day when the very Son of God was born into this world. Being born of a woman, He came as the universal gift to all, bringing the gift of eternal life, to all who would receive Him.
So, to that end, let us join with the Angelic Host in speaking the message of good tidings of great joy to all, and tell others about the Savior, Christ the Lord. God’s gift of salvation (deliverance). A Gift that has a universal appeal, A gift that is free – A gift that is perfect – A gift that is everlasting.
I do pray with all sincerity that this Christmas may be one of great joy and everlasting hope from above to each of you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rev. Nathaniel Bishop, Sr is Pastor of Cass Park Baptist Church in Detroit. He is married to Joyce A. Bishop. They have been married for 53 years, and are blessed with a wonderful daughter and son, and 6 very great and very special grandchildren (5 girls, and 1 boy).