Verse 8 of Luke chapter 2 picks up with the shepherds who are out in their field at night. Depending on the version you read, they were in the same region as Mary and Joseph or in the same country. The translation has the same effect in either case – so that we are not sure exactly how far away they are, but certainly not in a separate country. When the angel of the Lord appeared to them, “the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were filled with fear.” Any time that term is used, it is accompanied by great light – whatever else it means. In this case, certainly not as bright as what Paul (Saul) encountered on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), but in a dark field in a time when there were no distant city lights, it would be quite substantial and unnerving.
Calming them, the angel told them of the good news of the birth in the city of David of “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” and old them how they would know him when they went to see. The sudden appearance with the angel of “a multitude of the heavenly host” raises the question of what makes up a heavenly host. Generally, a “host” is a military term, where the collective group is associated with fighting a battle or guarding something. In the case of the Lord, they are associated as being at His side, praising Him, and ready to do his bidding (Psalm 103:21, Daniel 7:10). And verse 15 gives us the answer. After they finished praising the Lord Jesus, the verse tells us that the “angels” went away into heaven. Since only one angel had appeared before the heavenly host came, that tells us what sort of multitude they were.
When they arrived and saw Jesus, verse 17 says they “made known” what had been told to them by the angel, which created an understandable stir. But Mary, it said, treasured all of these things in her heart – no doubt recalling the visit from the angel Gabriel before the conception. And then on the eighth day, he was circumcised according to the Law of Moses and given the name Jesus, just as Gabriel had told her. And just like that, the will of God that He made known to the serpent way back in Genesis 3:15 was brought to fruition:
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.