Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Angel was Sent

.....The angel was sent with the most interesting
news that could be made known to
mankind; not to Caesar, or to Herod, or to
the High Priest, but to obscure and lowly
shepherds. The Lord seeth not as man seeth;
the petty distinctions that obtain among men
are not regarded by him. He is equally near
to them that fear him in every situation of
life, as the sun shines, as freely and fully, upon
a cottage as upon a palace. These shepherds
were doubtless, of the number of the
happy few, who, in that time of degeneracy,
were waiting and longing for the consolation
of Israel. The heads of the Jewish people
found their consolation in their rank and
wealth, and in the respect paid them by the
vulgar. These things usually add to the idea
of self-importance, and feed those tempers
which are most displeasing to the Lord, and
which indispose the mind to the reception of
the gospel, or to any due inquiry concerning
it. And thus, in fact from age to age, it has
generally been hidden from the wise and the
great, and revealed unto babes. The magi,
or wise men who lived in the east, where the
knowledge of astronomy obtained, but where
the scripture was not known, were guided to
Messiah by the appearance of a new star or
meteor. The shepherds, who were acquainted
with the prophecies concerning Messiah,
were informed of their accomplishment by an
angel. Thus the Lord was pleased to suit
the different manner of making known his
will, to the previous situation of the persons.

II. The message of the angel, though
concise, was comprehensive and full. It contained
the Fact, "Unto you is born this day"—the Place,
"In the city of David," that is, in Bethlehem, so called,
because David likewise had been born there
(Luke ii. 4.)—the Office of Messiah,
"A Saviour"—his Name, Honour, and Character,
"Christ," or the Anointed; "the Lord," the head
and king of Israel, and of the church, the Lord
of all......

For how unlikely would it seem to a merely
human judgment, that the Saviour of sinners,
the promised Messiah, the Lord of all, should
be a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and
lying in a manger. Yet thus it was. Though rich
in himself, he became poor for our sakes,
2 Cor. viii. 9. On this account, as the scriptures
had foretold, he was despised and rejected of
men. Though he came to his own, as a Lord
or Master to his own house; yet, coming in
this manner, his own professed servants, who
pretended that they were longing and waiting
for him, slighted and opposed him; preferred
a notorious malefactor to him, and put him to
death as an impostor and blasphemer. But
the shepherds reasoned not through unbelief,
and therefore they were not staggered: they
obeyed the message, they went, they saw, they
                         from a sermon by John Newton

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