Over the last few weeks we’ve been taking a look at the stories surrounding the birth of Jesus, the Christ. In these little meditations I’m hopeful that you’ve noticed that the more things change about mankind, the more they remain the same: “Wise men still seek Him”, “Evil men are still troubled by Him”, and “The world still doesn’t recognize Him”. And one more thing that hasn’t changed, angels still praise Him.
In Luke’s telling of the birth of Christ (Luke 2:8-20), he documents a special, visible outburst of angelic praise witnessed by humble and startled shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem, when Jesus was born. And you can easily understand why, an extraordinary, unprecedented, wonder-filled event was taking place — the incarnation of the Creator into the world He had created for nothing less than the redemption of mankind! It was no mere man who was born; this Child was God coming from His eternal existence to become temporal flesh! The magnitude of this event rivals creation itself and the resurrection/judgment day. It is the beginning of a superlative intervention that would end, surprisingly, in a cross and an empty tomb, potentially changing the eternal destiny for billions! If it hadn’t been announced to at least these few poor shepherds in the fields, the angels surely would have burst from excitement and praise — and with them, the very creation itself (see Luke 19:40)!
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’” (Luke 2:10-14)
This was way more than just a few thrilled heavenly visitors looking through the glass at the newborn Jesus’ nursery. It was the mind-blowing beginning of the come-back of God’s perfect creation, tragically marred by sin and death. It was God loving, becoming part of, and fully experiencing His creation to rescue it — rather than just wadding it up like a ruined draft to start over again, which is what we deserved. Amazing! Worthy of infinite thanks and praise!
And now He is ascended, having accomplished His mission: living among us, being tempted like us, teaching us, suffering like us, suffering FOR us, dying like us, dying FOR us, and redeeming us — all without sin. Now He receives the praise, glory, and adoration of victory and achievement from angels and saints:
“And they sing a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’” (Revelation 5:9-12)
Now, He is Redeemer (Titus 2:14), Judge (2 Timothy 4:8), King (Revelation 17:14), High Priest (Hebrews 2:17), and elder Brother (Hebrews 2:11)! Not enough can be said about Him or in heart-felt praise of Him; because Who He is and what He has done is great beyond words or even comprehension.
Even so, it is sometimes difficult to encourage men today to come worship; and even more puzzling, those that do come, sometimes offer only half-hearted, perfunctory praise. Surely, the angels must watch such earthly happenings with mouths agape in disbelief!
Yes, on that night over 2000 years ago, when Jesus was born, it may have been just another baby by human eyes, but to the eyes of angels, and to the eyes of faith — those able to see past the humanly-visible to the more dramatic spiritual reality — there was enough to praise God in the highest!
Will you see Him this Sunday (and every Sunday — and every day) with the eyes of flesh or the eyes of angels and of faith?