“Glory to God in the Highest!”
This week features the second episode in a three-part series focusing on the angelic message delivered to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth. This second episode centers on the message of Glory.
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us again as we look at the words of the angel to the shepherds who were keeping their flock just outside of the town of Bethlehem. You’re acquainted with the story; I don’t even need to read it to you but during this season we have to renew ourselves again in what the angels said. Among other things, the angels said “Glory to God in the highest.” Now, if you were with us last time, you know that I talked about the gift of joy. Because they said that they were filled with great joy—tidings of great joy and now I want to talk about the gift of glory.
Let me ask you a question: What comes to your mind when I mention the word “glory”? Well, one thing that should surface, almost immediately, is the concept of light. You’ll notice, in fact, that the glory of the Lord shown roundabout them. And you look through the Old Testament, and you always find the glory of God, when it is localized, there is always light. And by the way, you and I have never yet seen uncreated light; the sun that gives us light was created by God. But someday in heaven, we’re going to see light that is uncreated—the very light of God and we have a picture of that right here in this text in Luke 2. Another word that should come to mind is “Majesty.” The worthiness of God, the fact that we should exist for His glory and by the way the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. Glory!
Jesus said in John 17, “the glory, which Thou gavest me. I have given them.” Someday, we’re going to understand glory so much better and we’ll be aware of the fact that we exist for God’s glory but here in the text, the angels are rejoicing. Now, I wish I had more time for this, but I need to tell you that these angels fascinate me. Because angels are excited about the birth of Jesus Christ, even though they do not participate in any of the blessings that He brought. They are so free of envy that they are not concerned about the fact that the redeemed—those of us who have been redeemed by Christ will someday be above them. No angel has ever been an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. And yet, they rejoice in our redemption and the reason they do that is they are seeing firsthand deity and humanity coming together in the person of Jesus Christ. Paul says great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifest in the flesh. And they were understanding it. They were grasping the significance of it—that only we would understand at a later time. Now, let me ask you if a rebel—let us suppose that there’s actually a group of rebels and a king marries into that group of rebels, doesn’t that give those rebels some hope? What happens is this God comes to sinful humanity. Jesus, of course, is totally sinless, born of a virgin but nonetheless fully human. He comes to redeem us and the angels rejoice in that redemption because they know we are going to participate in one of the greatest events—let me say the greatest event that will ever really happen.
Now, this would take a longer discussion, but my view is that God created in order that He might redeem. The Christmas story, the cross of Christ, the resurrection, is the focal point in which we see most clearly all of God’s attributes: Mercy, Justice yes, but also Grace and it comes together as a kaleidoscope and it is there in the manger that we see God becoming man—God in the flesh. And the angels say, “glory to God in the highest.” I want to leave you with something today. Why don’t you just pause amid the busyness of life and give God glory? Just tell Him that you exist for His glory, you delight in His glory. And you realize that at the end of the day, it’s not how much money we have, It’s not whether or not all of our relatives love us at Christmas, at the end of the day, the real issue is—do we bring glory to God? Christmas is all about Him, and only secondarily about us, you take that with you and thanks so much for joining us today and as for today you just go with God.