Glory in the Highest
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. (Luke 2:8-20)
Don’t you just love the way God stretches (read challenges) our mind sets through the way He reveals Himself, and His character. Take for instance this scene in these verses above. He we have some lowly shepherds camped on a hill, watching over their flocks, probably to protect them from lions, and other predators, and to them it is given the honour of receiving first, outside of Jesus and Mary, the news that the Christ, the promised anointed King, has arrived. For thousands of years many kings, priests, prophets, and faithful saints had hungered for this day, and yet the Lord chooses this surprising congregation to reveal such news. God even sends a host of heavens’ angels to reveal this, perhaps revealing the joy that was occurring in that realm, the honour due this special babe, and to get the message through (maybe).
Their response is wonderful, obeying the message they sort out this King, rejoiced when they found Him, and later declared what they had seen with great joy, arguably becoming Jesus’ first evangelists. It is intriguing, that when God revealed His son to the world He did so in the form of a babe, fragile and gentle. He talked to shepherds about this One, who in the ancient scriptures is also known as the lamb of God…they perhaps could relate to this. However, the Anointed One, is also know as the Lion of Judah, speaking of His authority and strength, and His link to the throne of the ancient king David. So shepherds, you welcomed a lion!
Even now we prefer the images of this innocent babe, wrapped in swaddling cloth, held in a mother’s arms, to the ones that perhaps reveal His kingly identity. But, both are relevant. Christ is the courageous and brave Lion, the King of kings, who rules the earth, and comes again to defeat the nations who have raged against Him. Even now with a roar He sends the enemy fleeing, Satan and his minions tremble at this sound. Our Lord Jesus also revealed this bravery while on earth, pursuing the cross that meant death and pain, not lifting a hand against His accusers (accept to heal), and finally alone, disparaged by many voice, dying in darkness, strung to the tree. This He did willingly with such courageous love for His Father, and for us, for you.
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:1-7)
This is what qualifies in the courts of heaven as the love that saves. With such action, this brave Lion behaved like the Lamb, to sacrifice Himself, knowing He saves us, defeats death and the power of sin, and received the scroll of heaven. This is the type of love Jesus calls us to follow. Thankfully only He had to pay the price of our sin, and die on the Cross of Calvary, descend to hell to release the righteous dead, defeat the enemy, death, and sin. And yet in Christ we have such courageous and brave love. Taking on challenges with the strength of a Lion, knowing that we often must be meek like the Lamb. This is not cowardice, far from it, this is pure bravery. Confronting situations knowing we may sacrifice our careers and status, giving until it hurts to rescue a neighbour or stranger, putting aside agendas to stop for the one, laying aside pride and the fear of ridicule to share the good news, devoting oneself to the care of another, or even laying down our lives for Christ, these are the examples of live that qualifies in heaven.
Let us remember this love at Christmas, and give as we can.
Remember to that we are to be like Lion and a Lamb as we walk with Christ.
Finally, remember Jesus has the scroll and peals back the seals, ushering in these end of times, and His soon return, where the Lion of Judah comes as the triumphant King, and the earth trembles.