January 11, 2020
Subject: “Angels We Have Heard On High” Part 2 – Historical Revelation of God’s Glory
Luke 2:11 “There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
People today, as in the past, want to know if God exists. The question is, can we know? Is it possible to go beyond just belief to a state of conviction or certainty in God’s existence?
The existence of God is woven into both our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, so it is obvious our founders more than just believed it, because they based the very foundation of our national creeds on it. Today, we often hear that more of America’s younger generation don’t think God exists.
I would argue that the only way someone can feel sure there is no God is by ignoring the evidence of God’s activity in humanity, as well as His influence in mankind’s affairs. There is more evidence for God’s existence today than at any other time in human history. The issue is that this evidence is not being taught (if you want to review ten of the best arguments for God’s existence, go to my website http//fse.life).
But we can demonstrate God’s existence in many of life’s everyday traditions. Such is the case as we dig deeper into one of the most beloved Christmas carols, ‘Angels We Have Heard on High’, where we can examine three of the evidences within this carol for God’s glory being revealed in history to mankind.
The chorus goes like this: “Gloria, in excelsis Deo… Come to Bethlehem and see… Him whose birth the angels sing; Come, adore on bended knee… Christ the Lord, the newborn King.” The first part of this chorus means “Glory to God in the highest”. The remainder is the reason why the Father is glorified by the angels and why the angel in Luke 2:10 tells the shepherds not to be afraid: “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people”. What is this great, joyous moment in time for all people on earth?
In an obscure, tiny city near Jerusalem called Bethlehem, there was a baby born to human parents who is the only Son the Father has ever had. And His only Son is the Savior of all mankind, to usher in His redemptive plan for all people, for how any person on earth can be forgiven for their sins and have access to God personally in an eternal relationship. This baby was Jesus Christ, who has the title “Lord”.
The angel proclaims 3 requirements that Jesus Christ fulfilled to validate that He is the Savior sent by the Father. First, this baby must be born in Bethlehem. In the Old Testament book of Micah, the prophet declares that this future Messiah must be born in the city of Bethlehem: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from old, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2).
This is significant because not only does anyone claiming to be Messiah have to be born in the specific city of Bethlehem (out of all cities in the world), but this baby must be born in the correct Bethlehem, since there were two Bethlehems: Bethlehem Judea and Bethlehem Ephrathah. Christ was born in Bethlehem Ephrathah. We can check the box that He fulfills this Messianic requirement from 725BC.
The second requirement is He must be God’s anointed Savior. That means He is Messiah. This is a name for the One who will do His Father’s will and redeem humanity from their penalty of death for their own sinfulness. The first time Jesus Christ spoke publicly is also recorded in Luke. As He read from the Old Testament book of Isaiah in Luke chapter 4, Jesus Christ confirms the angel’s proclamation that He who was born in Bethlehem Ephrathah is in fact the Messiah sent by His Father to redeem mankind.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He (the Father) has anointed Me (the Son) to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind. To set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). After reading this passage in Isaiah of the future arrival of the Father’s promised Messiah, Jesus openly announces “Today, in your hearing, this Scripture is fulfilled” (Luke 4:21).
The third and final requirement is He must be not only the Christ, or Anointed Messiah, but He must be the Lord. This is so powerful that we will dig into this prooftext for Christ’s deity, and the solid evidence for why God exists, next week by examining what the angels mean when they give Him the title “Lord.”
So, does God exist? The evidence from history, in just this one example, is a resounding yes, and God’s revealed glory of Himself was made physically known to us in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.