Title: The birth of the King
Scriptures to Read: Luke 2:1-20
The shepherds and the glory of the Lord
In Luke 2:9 the Shekinah glory appears along with an angel, who makes an announcement. This is the first time in five centuries that the Shekinah glory has appeared in Israel. The angel tells the shepherds:
1. Not to be afraid.
2. That a Savior has just been born in the city of David.
3. That this baby is Christ the Lord, the Messianic Saviour.
The signs that will help the shepherds recognize the Messiah
The Jewish shepherds are instructed to go find the baby. In Matthew’s account there were many caves which were used as stables. How would they know they found the right baby? “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (V12). The angel tells them to look for two signs:
1. They would find Him lying in a manger (V12)- A manger is a feeding trough for livestock, also called a crib. Remember, stables were not separate buildings but caves throughout the hill country of Judea. So being shepherds, they would know where the stables or caves were in Bethlehem. But why a manger? Why a stable (cave)? Joseph tried to find decent accommodations, there was not room for them in the “Holi-day Inn”. Therefore, they had to find other accommodations, and all they could find was a stable.
2. They would find Him wrapped in swaddling clothes (V12)- The term “swaddling clothes” is not baby clothes but refers specifically to burial cloth. Why burial cloth? Interspersed among the caves you would normally find burial cloth because they also buried people in the burial caves. So in the stable/caves, for convenience sake, they put burial cloth in notches in the walls of the caves. So if a woman or man died in Bethlehem, the funeral procession would stop by one of the stables/caves to get some burial cloth on the way to the burial cave. Because Yeshua was born in a stable/cave, Miriam and Joseph used what was available. The symbolism should not be missed. The cloth with which he was wrapped on the first day of his life will be the same cloth he will be wrapped in on the last day of His life. You are I were born to live, but this one was born to die and was signified by being wrapped in burial cloth when He was born.
A multitude of angels proclaim God’s glory
In verse 13 a host of angels, not just one, but a multitude become visible and proclaim a two-fold message:
1. Glory to God in the highest – This concerns God.
2. Peace on earth among men – This concerns men.
Mary treasured all this news in her heart
“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (V19). Much later she would reveal these things to Luke.