First Century Hip-Hop Choir
The Christmas story has some amazing features. The way the Bible records these events underlines the truthfulness of this historic happening. For example, as a first time mum, how would you describe what happened leading up to the birth of your baby and the following first hour afterwards?
Luke, the man who writes about the birth of Jesus, does so in an amazingly concise way. He records: “Mary gave birth to her first baby, a son, wrapped him in strips of cloth and put him to bed in a manger!” [an animal feeding trough]. He says nothing about the baby’s hair, colour of his eyes, how much Jesus weighed at birth, how long he was. The story is so simple and straightforward. If this was a fabricated event it would be far more expansive than this. Read Luke 2:1-16.
At the same time as Jesus is born, an angel appears outside Bethlehem to a group of shepherds saying “I bring you great news of joy because today is born a Saviour, Christ, the Lord.” This unique baby is to be named Jesus because he will save people from their sins. He is the ‘Christ’ one especially anointed by God, the one promised hundred of years earlier. Micah had predicted Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. This demonstrates that God keeps his word. He never breaks a promise. Never. Jesus is the ‘Lord,’ the sovereign Lord of the universe.
Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appear with the angel who is talking to the shepherds. Praising God they say: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, on men-(divine) good pleasure/delight.” The word ‘suddenly’ highlights the unexpected action nature of God’s actions. Jesus will return ‘suddenly’ [Mark 13:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:3].
This first century ‘hip-hop’ multitudinous angelic choir sing, saying:
- Glory to God - in the highest
- Peace – on the earth
- On men – divine good pleasure/delight
‘Glory to God’ means God, the creator of heaven and earth, is to be praised, thanked, worshiped because of what he has done and is about to do through Jesus.
‘Peace’ on earth is not a military obtain peace but peace as the result of God’s forgiveness. Christ made peace by the blood of his cross. Through repentance and faith in Jesus we have peace with God. The peace of God can protect our hearts and minds [Luke 7:50; 8:48; Colossians 1:20; Philippians 4:6-9].
‘On men’ (divine) good pleasure. God’s gracious will, activity, blessings. “Good pleasure” translates just one word ‘eudokia.’ God sets his passion favourably towards humanity. When Jesus is baptized and again when he is transfigured God says: “You are my Son, who I love, with you I am very pleased” –‘eudokia’. This same word ‘eudokia’ spoken by the angels underlines the fact that in the birth of Jesus God is favourably disposed towards us. It is a day of mercy, grace and forgiveness. This truly is good news of great joy.
Dr Keith Graham