A Word on Luke 2

Luke 2  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
It is beautiful to see the simplicity of the account in the message, the wonderful message, given to the shepherds in their occupation. God comes down in grace, bringing the greatest things down to the commonest circumstances, because He cannot take up the pride of life; for when this comes out, God, as it were, shrinks from it and hides Himself. The dove could have no rest in the earth, neither could Jesus in the world; and here we find Him beginning at the manger, and ending at the cross. Here we find an assembly of angels, not merely to speak to His people as Israel, but to proclaim the great fact that Christ is come into the world, though they address the Jews according to their expectation: “Unto you is born in the city of David.” Such is the truth: Christ came into the world, but there was no place for Him in it. Nothing could show more the spirit of the world, than when Christ came into it He had no place in it! Creation was obedient. The winds and the waves obey Him. The fish comes from the ocean at His command-the animals bound to receive Him; all more than men did, who, having the great spring of rebellion in them, could allot the Savior only a manger.
But it is also the truth that the Lord comes down to the circles in our hearts, even though very narrow ones. The Lord is pleased to take notice of our circumstances. The saints that apprehend this, and know the comfort of a God of providence, are apt to stop there, finding their need thus met by Him in providence. There must, then, be a great danger of slipping—making God a helper to them in the world, thus having limits to their hearts about Him and His truth; and this is often seen where there is true faith. Whilst guarding against this, as deriving our experience of His goodness and dealings about ourselves, instead of following the Spirit in the wide range of all that affects His own glory, we still find He does come down to our several circumstances-even to the one most weak and cast down. So He came to the shepherds in their circumstances. This is a blessed instruction, that God is thinking about us when we are not thinking about ourselves. When, too, our thoughts are unworthy of Him, He is pleased to come down.
If I am firm on the Rock, I can stretch out my hand to meet others in need in their circumstances. When the heavenly hosts commence their strain-our proper place, then we get the knowledge of what God is. Man's place for God on earth is a manger; God's thoughts to man on earth are “Good-will in men.” There is glory to “God in the highest,” because He did come down to the very need of man's wants. God's nature of love is thus shown, and peace also in its nature. But man so opposes and hates it, that, instead of receiving the peace, it comes as a sword into the household-” the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law,” &c., and the “man's foes shall be of his own household.” But this is not the case with those who get their hearts in heaven, there is peace. Glory here is worthy of Himself. It is exceedingly glorious to sing glory to God. They sang on earth, and all is the portion of real saints who see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, for when cast out the Spirit of Christ is theirs. “if ye are reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye, for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth on you.” (1 Peter 4) Christ has peace stamped on Him. The fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace,” &c. The Spirit of Christ is from Him in heaven; but God's dealings to man are seen in grace downwards. He finds delight in showing His “good-will to men.” As it is said in Prov. 8, “My delight is with the sons of men.” If we understand this, not merely to the church, but the outflowings of love and kindness to all, it would lead one to act in the same spirit I receive from Himself. Even if I met a little child in the street, I should thus feel according to the love God took when the angels brought this news of good-will towards men. Here is what God is showing, and, if we have His Spirit, we shall show God's nature towards all.
Two marks of Christ are: one in total opposition of nature and principle to the world, and therefore no room for us; the other is, by having a place in heaven, to have all the love of God's nature flowing forth in love. Let us plead our weakness, for God's strength can then come into us; and what a loss it is to our souls not to have this! We should be like Solomon, desiring to have our hearts enlarged as the sands of the sea, the very principle of grace.