“ANGELS ANNOUNCED HIM” Luke 1:26-38; 2:8-20
This picture is of a town crier. His name is Tony Appleton, & he is announcing the arrival of Prince William & Kate Middleton’s daughter in 2015 in London.
Town criers date back to the 18th century & were used mostly during a time when the general population was illiterate. They would announce all sorts of things for the citizens to know about. The official legal definition of a town crier from Black’s Law Dictionary is this: “A town crier, or bellman, is an officer of the court who makes public pronouncements as required by the court.” They would usually begin their announcements by ringing a bell & shouting, “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez,” which means, “Hear ye, Hear ye, Hear ye!” Then they would begin their announcements of new proclamations, bylaws, or advertisements. Sometimes, before public hangings, the town crier would read reasons why a person was about to be hanged. The town criers were protected by law b/c sometimes they would have to bring negative news from the government, such as tax increases. To harm a town crier was considered an act of treason.
Angels are heaven’s “town criers.” They are the divine town criers, God’s town criers, His messengers, dispatched by Him to do His work & make His announcements & proclamations all throughout the Bible.
- Genesis 3:24 – First appearance of an angel when God placed them at entrance of Garden of Eden after He expelled Adam & Eve.
- Angels came to Abraham in Gen. 18 to warn him of the impending destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah. Angels also protected & escorted Lot & his family out of Sodom before it was destroyed in Gen. 19.
- 2 Kings 6 – Elisha & his servant saw an army of angels on the hillside protecting them from the enemy armies.
And then, of course, we have the encounters that Mary & the shepherds had w/ the angels, the most well-known angelic encounters in the Bible. And, WOW, what messages they delivered! Look at the messages & proclamations that these heaven criers brought to us:
A message of sovereign grace – 1:30 – “favor” – charitoo from root of charis, which means GRACE! – Mary had not done anything special to deserve being chosen by God to be Jesus’ mother. She “found favor” with God simply & solely because of His undeserved grace that was poured out upon her. He chose her for this task simply b/c He is God & He has the sovereign right to make that choice. She had not earned it, nor did she deserve it. It was an act of sovereign grace!
God’s grace is truly amazing! To think that He would choose a simple teenage girl in a remote Galilean town called Nazareth for such a monumental task is truly mind-boggling. The word for “favored” means that God freely gave Mary this privilege. How awesome is that!
And it also means that you & I are highly favored by God. There’s only 1 other reference in the NT where this word is used & it’s in Eph. 1:6 where it says that, as God’s children, we are “blessed in the beloved” or “accepted in the beloved.” This means that not only is God’s grace given to us freely, but it also means that we are freely, completely, & eternally accepted & adopted into God’s family! When we begin to comprehend that, our lives will be forever changed & transformed! God accepts you & loves you no matter what! You cannot do anything to make yourself more acceptable. His grace is so amazing that you are just as “highly favored” as Mary was when Gabriel showed up!
A message of special miracles – 1:31, 34-35 – The angel, Gabriel, also made an announcement of the special miracles that would bring the Christ-child into the world. Mary would become pregnant w/ the child without ever having been intimate w/ a man. It would be a miraculous act of the Holy Spirit that would cause her to become pregnant, ensuring that Jesus would not inherit the sin nature that comes from Adam, as all other humans do. The only way that Jesus could be born as the Holy Son of God would be for this miracle to happen.
In commenting on Jesus coming into the world, Martin Luther once said that there were three miracles involved. “The first, that God became man; the second, that a virgin was a mother; and the third, that the heart of man should believe this.” We live in a day & among a multitude of people who push hard against anything miraculous or supernatural. Theological liberalism has elevated science & intellectualism over the biblical revelation found in scripture & evaluates scripture using scientific methods. Reason rules over revelation, & anything that found to not be verifiable by scientific methods is discarded. That means the virgin birth should be discarded according to this line of thinking, which leads to the resurrection also being discarded, which leads to a total breakdown of the Gospel message, which leads to anyone holding to these teachings to be outside of Christ & headed to hell. See how important this announcement from Gabriel is now??? He’s not just another character in the next Christmas pageant for a little kid to wear a white gown w/ cardboard wings & a tinsel halo. His message of the special miraculous conception & birth of Jesus is FOUNDATIONAL to the Gospel message, which means we must NEVER discard it or deemphasize it. I agree completely w/ what Dr. Russell Moore states: “No true Christian can deny the virgin birth.” (http://www.bpnews.net/17343) So settle it now, my brothers & sisters in Christ – Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary in the most astounding, most amazing, divinely miraculous way!
A message of the Savior’s reign – 1:32-33 – Gabriel’s divine announcements continued as he gives Mary the news that this child that will be born to her will be a king, & not just any king, but the King of kings! This baby would be the new David, the king over all Israel, with the awesome title, “Son of God.” And even greater news is that His rule & reign will never end! He is Israel’s long-awaited Messiah & our loving Savior. He came into the world the first time as a frail child, but will come back again into the world the 2nd time as a our glorious, conquering King! “The kingdom of God that is realized in the coming of Jesus and is to be consummated at the [2nd coming] will continue forever.”
A message of salvation’s hope – 2:10-12 – We move from Mary’s home to the shepherds’ hillside where the angels announce a message of salvation’s hope. JESUS HAS COME!!! HE’S HERE!!! And look at the message of hope that the angel gets to share b/c Jesus is here:
- Fear is gone – “Fear not”
- The Gospel has come – “I bring you good news”
- Abundant joy is expressed – “of great joy” – megas
- Everyone is included – “which shall be for ALL people”
- It’s personal – “For unto YOU…”
- He will rescue you from sin & death – “a Savior”
- He is God’s chosen, anointed, perfect One – “Christ”
- He has a wonderful plan & purpose for your life – “the Lord”
A message of spectacular worship – 2:13-14 – Finally, the angels culminated their announcements w/ a glorious, immediate, unexpected message of spectacular worship of God. It’s almost like they couldn’t help themselves! They just HAD to break out in worship! The coming of the Savior of the world into the world was just too magnificent for them to let it go by w/out, what SHOULD be the response of ALL of us when we hear this message – HEARTFELT, SPIRIT-FILLED, SOUL-FERVENT WORSHIP!
CONCLUSION – When the angels showed up w/ their announcements of sovereign grace, special miracles, the Savior’s reign, salvation’s hope, & spectacular worship, they came to people who were normal people, dealing w/ the pressures & struggles of living life in a fallen world. Not much has changed since then. Sure, technology has changed, the pace of life has changed, the population of the world has changed. But, many things are still the same. The angels came to the shepherds at night, but it wasn’t just night b/c the sun had gone down. It was night b/c the world was enveloped in spiritual darkness. Greed, intolerance, a lust for power, immorality, & religious hypocrisy was everywhere, just like today. Everywhere we look today, we see the darkness of sin as people are driven by their lusts for power, their lusts for pleasure, their lusts for possessions. Even within the church, we find ourselves gossiping against each other, not trusting each other, questioning motives, bitter towards others, angry, & unreconciled in our relationships, & content to stay that way. It’s a dark world we are living in.
But we must remember that the angels announced that the Light of the world has come into this darkness, & b/c of that, there is hope, b/c HE is hope.
- There is the potential for peace b/c He is the Prince of Peace.
- There is joy b/c He is the very source of joy.
- There is love b/c He came to show us the love of God & teach us how to love one another.
 Stein, R. H. (1992). Luke (Vol. 24, p. 84). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.