Gloria In Excelsis Deo Luke 2:8-20

Gloria In Excelsis Deo Luke 2:8-20


  • In the first 30 years of Pax Romana. Who needs God?
  • We have a Messiah who is sovereign, faithful, and humble. When
    the wonder of our Savior’s birth begins to fade we can be assured
    that we have lost sight of the magnitude of his humanity.
  • Read Luke 2:8-20
  • In this passage Luke displays a series of contrasts for his
    readers (Darkness/Light, Manger/Field, Wondering/Treasuring).
  • You might be living in darkness; Your world might be filled with
    the most mundane routines; Your thrilling encounters with God
    might be experiences long in the past…If that is true of you let
    this scene of the glory of God renew in you a “treasuring up” and
    a “pondering” of the fact that a Savior was born unto you.

The Angel’s Announcement (8-12)

  • The shepherds went from “keeping watch” to “fearing
    a great fear.”
  • v.9 The glory is not the glory of the angel but the Lord.
  • v.10 cf. 1:12-13 “Fear not”
  • Illustration: Linus drops his blanket.
  • v.11 The use of the three titles “Savior, Christ, Lord” brought out the active and passive connotations of Jesus’ authority: the Savior and Messiah is one who delivers God’s people, while the Lord is one who is to be obeyed and honored (Marshall 1988: 145).
  • The darkness of the night stood in stark contrast with the light of God’s glory.
  • The birth of Christ removes our fears and restores our hope.
  • What brings fear becomes an opportunity to put your hope in what is lasting.

This not so subtle announcement was subdued in comparison to the chorus of praise that followed.

The Angels’ Praise (13-14)

  • Angels in no need of Christ’s saving work, but they are greatly intrigued by God’s work (1 Peter 1:12).
  • With the discovery of the Qumran scrolls scholars believe the better interpretation is to see this as a reference to those who are favored by God. Those, who by grace—not of their own doing, are the recipients of His peace.
  • The “peace” this Child brings transcends the Pax Romana. This is peace experienced between God and man. Bruce Metzger, “The meaning seems to be, not that divine peace can be bestowed only where human good will is already present, but that at the birth of the Savior, God’s peace rests on those whom he has chosen in accord with his good pleasure.” That is not merely good exegesis, but it’s excellent theology!
  • Flash Mob outside in stark contrast with the manger scene.
  • A similar host of angels also arrayed in military fashion 2 Kings 6:15-17.
  • Spiritual warfare going on all around you. How would seeing the armies battling over your soul effect the way you pray, read your bible, evangelize, fear, hold grudges, watch tv, etc.
  • Physical trials cause you to emphasize the superior value of the spiritual realities.

Extraordinary events clustered in Scripture around periods of new revelation.

The Shepherd’s Response (15-20)

  • Shepherds likely had to walk by faith (not by sight) for the rest of their lives. Either way, their obedience was immediate.
  • Notice, this wasn’t a scene made visible to everyone. God opens the eyes of a few outcast shepherds—a few unworthy recipients—who then take what they see and hear and proclaim it to the rest of the region.
  • The short-lived amazement (impressed/disturbed) of the people stands in stark contrast with the heart-treasuring and pondering of Mary.
  • The world sees a baby in a manger and ends its wonder there. But if they would only continue reading on they would see that this Baby is now the King of kings sitting on the throne of thrones. What He was in that manger is nothing compared to what He is now!
  • If Mary had a lot to treasure up and ponder as she looked upon her child—How much more do we have to reflect upon? We know more than she could’ve possibly understood. Do you
    respond accordingly?
  • God reaches down to the lowest of people in order to show the greatness of His mercy and love. God frequently called people of low status into great service (i.e., Moses, David, Amos).
  • We shouldn’t romanticize the shepherds. They had a reputation for a reason.
  • Shepherds untrustworthy, lowest class of people. Prevented from frequent participation in the religious rituals. They were not allowed to give testimony in court. Only because of the work of the Holy Spirit, was their testimony accepted. Isn’t it just like God to give them the privilege of testifying concerning the birth of His Son?
  • Sin makes all of us unworthy.
  • Tour sense of unworthiness brings you to a place where you might see with greater clarity the infinite worth of Christ!

All have access to the Father through the Son.


  • The original audience would have likely listened with as much wonder as you and I. Hopefully, we are still amazed when we think about that heavenly choir filling the night sky. Hopefully, we are still moved by the humility of our Lord and Savior.
  • But, even more important, I hope we still treasure up this gospel story. I hope we still ponder it with fresh insight and excitement.
  • Because God came us in Christ, we can go to Him through Christ.
  • The shepherd witnessed the heavenly choir, then after seeing the Savior in the manger, they joined in.
  • God invites you to join the heavenly choir.
  • You only have access because a Savior was born, obeyed, died, and rose.
  • Go in haste to worship Him! Christian worship replaces our fears with hope. Christian worship transforms our worldview. Christian worship begins with a sense of our unworthiness. Worship that lacks hope, transformation, and humility is not Christian worship.