A couple of weeks ago we began our Inductive Study of the Story of the Birth of Jesus. We have looked at the characters who dot the Christmas story, as well as the setting. Yesterday we finally got to the reason for our study – Jesus! For the next few days – the last of our study – we are going to look at the reaction to the birth of Jesus. The responses of two groups and one individual may give us an idea of how we should react to our Savior’s birth.
Let’s dig in!
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The Announcement of Jesus’ Birth
Yesterday we discovered that aside from all the miracles, there wasn’t anything extraordinary about Jesus’ birth. Do you remember where He was born? (in a place where animals are kept, in Bethlehem) And do you remember what Mary did for Him? (wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger)
Today we are going to hear the announcement of His birth. Let’s read Luke 2:8-9 and look for a group and a being.
And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terribly frightened.Luke 2:8-9
We are going to look at the shepherds in more detail tomorrow, but let’s get some basics down today. Where were these shepherds? (in the same region, in the fields) What time of day is it? (night) What do they suddenly see? (an angel of the Lord)
The Angel of the Lord
Now let’s look at this angel, if we can. Read Luke 2:9-12 and record what we learn about the angel of the Lord.
- suddenly stood before the shepherds (2:9)
- glory of the Lord (2:9) around whom? (the shepherds)
- frightening sight (2:9)
- said to them, “Do not be afraid…” (2:10)
- “I bring you good news of great joy…” (2:10)
- gives a sign – “you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (2:12)
If someone asked you to describe the angel of the Lord, what would you say? Is the angel “real” or a figment of imagination? Do you think this is the same angel who appeared to Zacharias? Or the same angel who appeared to Joseph? Or Mary? What about the angel frightened the shepherds?
Note: this angel of the Lord is unique in the Bible because men do not attempt to worship this angel. Many other appearances of angels make men bow down in worship. You may want to discuss this with your kids.
Now let’s look at the actual announcement the angel of the Lord gives to the shepherds. Read Luke 2:10-12. Note the words he says and who his audience is.
And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”Luke 2:10-12
Who does the angel bring this news to? (the shepherds) But who does he say the good news is for? (all the people) Why didn’t the angel of the Lord go to all the people? Why wasn’t there a bigger event to announce the birth of the Savior?
How does the angel of the Lord describe Jesus? Let’s make a list:
- a Savior
- Christ the Lord
- a baby
Can you imagine what the shepherds were thinking upon hearing this announcement?
We have talked about signs before. Do you remember what a sign is? (a sign points to something) Yes, a sign is something which points to the truth of what God (or one of God’s messengers) has said. A sign verifies the Word of God.
What is the sign the angel of the Lord gives to the shepherds? What will they find? (you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger) We will look at this sign a bit more tomorrow.
A Heavenly Chorus
As if this announcement and this angelic appearance weren’t enough, there is another sudden appearance. Read verses 13-14.
What is a multitude? (a group too many to count) What is a heavenly host? (a group of angels) What were this multitude of the heavenly host doing? (praising God) What were they saying?
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with who He is pleased.Luke 2:14
What is this statement? Is it a prayer? Is it simply a statement of fact? What do you think? (these are discussion questions)
Spreading the Word
The angel of the Lord appeared to a group of shepherds in the hills outside of Bethlehem bringing the most wonderful news ever! And then the shepherds were given a sign – a way to know what the angel had said was true.
What do we do with good news? What do we do with the best news we have ever heard? How can we spread the good news today? (these are discussion questions)
Tomorrow we will we will look at what happened when the shepherds were all alone again, when the glory of the Lord no longer shone around them. I am so excited to talk about it with you. Stay tuned!