God’s Love Causes Angel Awe
God directs Luke to do copious research and assemble a detailed account of Jesus’ life.
God sends the angel Gabriel to an old priest, Zechariah, with the news that God is going to give his past-child-bearing-age wife, Elizabeth, a son. This boy will prepare the way for the Messiah, and Zechariah is to name him John. The old priest has a hard time believing what he is hearing.
The angel Gabriel also visits Mary, a young woman engaged to Joseph, a descendant of King David. Mary is naturally frightened by the mighty angel, but Gabriel assures her that God is pleased with her—so pleased that she is going to give birth to God’s Son. Mary assures the angel that she will gladly do all that God asks of her.
When Caesar Augustus commands a census, Joseph and Mary travel to Joseph’s ancestral hometown, Bethlehem, to register. There Mary gives birth to baby Jesus—Baby-God. God sends angels to a group of shepherds to announce his Son’s birth. The shepherds run to find the baby and excitedly share the incredible news with anyone who will listen.
Forty days later, Jesus is presented before the Lord at the temple. Two old prophets—Simeon and Anna—bless the child and speak of the great things God is doing. And Jesus grows.
The King’s Heart
Jesus’ coming to earth must have been incredible for the angels. They knew him as King, the worship-worthy One. Maybe God had told them his plan, or maybe it was a surprise. Regardless, the Son leaving heaven and coming to earth must have been an amazing event for them. The Creator was coming to earth to be a creation. Not only that, but he was starting from the most vulnerable point of all—a single cell in a woman’s womb.
God in a single cell. And then God as a baby. No wonder the angels burst on the scene in such powerful celebration to announce Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. They knew just how amazing the news was. The good King had come.
As Jesus left his heavenly home, the angels clearly saw God’s heart: God loves us so much that he’ll do anything to rescue us.
It was a rare privilege for a priest to tend to the incense in the Holy Place of the temple. The priest was selected by lot, and sometimes a priest was never chosen. But God made sure Zechariah was tending the incense that day (see Luke 1:8-9). God had special news to deliver—news he had been waiting a long time to share.