The angelic birth announcement is the concert of all concerts that praises God for the gift of all gifts.
This is the sixteenth post in the series The Musical That Changed the World.
The curtain that separates the natural and supernatural opens to reveal an angelic choir who give these shepherds a private open-air concert unlike anything ever seen or heard in human history, given as part of the heavenly announcement and celebration of the birth of God’s Son to human kind.
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 among those with whom he is pleased!”
These angels weren’t just a band for hire, this was sincere, angelic praise. As they witnessed the unfolding plan of God’s promises and his redemption of man, they were moved to praise, a praise that all of creation should have been party to. Their words praise God in two ways.
In the Heavens, Glory
This work of God in sending his Son to be a warrior king who will bring salvation to mankind causes them to give glory to God. Even though men on the earth are the beneficiaries, this is a ttranscendentcause that gives God glory in heaven among the angels.
On the Earth, Peace.
The most striking thing about God sending his Son on the earth is not glory, though that itself is true, rather it is peace. Why peace? Because mankind is not naturally at peace with God. Ever since Genesis chapter 3 all mankind was born into enmity, or antagonism, with God. Rebellion is in our blood, not peace with God.
But now that the Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord, God’s Son, is on the earth, now there can finally be peace through his redemptive purposes. This is an all encompassing peace available to all the nations and races of the earth. But it is not a universal peace. There is a qualification to this peace.
Peace With Whom He is Pleased
You probably know this verse better by the King James translation which reads “…and on earth peace, good will toward men.” This is a very unfortunate translation that misses the intention of the Greek. This seems to communicate a general peace and well-wishing sentiment for all mankind, which is not what is being said.
The Greek phrase reads “men of God’s good pleasure,” which is the Jewish way of describing men and women who are counted among God’s people. It’s a phrase that distinguishes between people. Read the verse again carefully. Who is this peace on earth with? It’s among those with whom God is pleased.
This goes along with Mary’s Magnificat where she says his mercy is for those who fear him. This is the peace that Zechariah sung of for those who have been led out of darkness and have been guided to the path of peace with God. And here, this peace is for those who recognize that this child is the Savior, Christ the Lord.
This is the very peace Paul writes about in Romans,
Therefore, now that we are justified by faith we have peace with God. (Romans 5:1 ESV)
The most pressing need of mankind in any age is not peace among the nations, or peace within families, or peace that ends war and atrocities. Yes, those are needful things, but the most urgent need of man is that he find peace with God.
This is the greatest gift that God could give man — that man the rebel against God would find peace with God. And it’s a peace that was made possible by this child lying in a manger 2000 years ago.
Read the previous post The Savior, Christ the Lord.
See the index to the series The Musical That Changed The World.