March 12, 2012
The Lord’s Christ and Christ the Lord
The glory of the Lord shone round about them … good tidings of great joy … Christ the Lord … wrapped in swaddling clothes …
Glory to God in the highest.
Ezekiel watched with unmeasurable grief as the glory departed from the Temple centuries earlier. Reluctantly, slowly, and with staccato rhythm, the glory left the Temple and the nation; destruction of all that was precious in the city, and enslavement of Israel’s sons followed. Captives in Babylon, they could only remember what it meant to go up to the House of the Lord and to enjoy “holy day” in the courts of God.
Centuries had passed. While a small remnant had returned in the days of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, the glory had not returned. They were content with the rebuilt Temple, the city, and the walls.
But one day, or rather one evening, as shepherds watched over their flocks, the angel of the Lord appeared. But greater than the appearance of the angel was what accompanied his visit: “the glory of the Lord shone round about them.” The glory which had left the nation suddenly returned. To shepherds, in Judean hills, the glory shone. The presence of God was once more amongst His people; it was not in a Temple however, but in a manger, in a man, in His Son.
In a similar manner, when the manna was given in Exodus 16, Moses told the people that, linked with the manna, they would see “the glory of the Lord” (v 6) in the morning. Now in Luke 2, the “true manna” had come. Small, white, and round – lowly, pure, perfect in every dimension, He came to where we were. God’s glory was linked with Him as He came into the world, a glory not appreciated by the world at large, but known to a few.
To shepherds He is announced as Christ the Lord. Later, to Simeon, He will be the Lord’s Christ. He is both: Christ is Lord, God the Son. He is also the Lord’s Christ, Jehovah’s sent One and Messiah. He is the glory of God.
1. The shepherds were told: “Ye shall find the babe … lying in a manger.” Trace the places where the Lord “lay.” Note the increasing dependence expressed by Him in each.
2. God’s glory displayed in a Man secured God’s glory in the highest (v 14), and God’s best for men on earth (v 14). Trace this principle throughout Scripture.
3. Why do you think Luke, a Gentile writing for Gentiles, gathers faithful Jewish people in Luke 1 and 2 to mark the birth of Christ?