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 sovereign, faithful, and humble Messiah.
  • Don’t let the wonder of our Savior’s birth fade.

Read Luke 2:8-20

  • A series of contrasts:
    • Darkness/Light
    • Manger/Field
    • Wondering/Treasuring
  • You are not in darkness; Your world is not filled with mundane routines; Your thrilling encounters with God are not all in the past…
  • Treasure up and ponder this scene of the glory of God in the birth of a Savior born unto you.
  1. The Angel’s Announcement (8-12)
  2. The Angels’ Praise (13-14)
  3. The Shepherd’s Response (15-20)

The Angel’s Announcement (8-12)

  • 8 The shepherds go from “keeping watch” to “fearing a great fear.”
  • 9 The glory, not of the angel, but the Lord.
  • 10 “Fear not” (1:12-13).
  • Illustration: Charlie Brown, “Doesn’t anyone know the meaning of Christmas?” Linus steps forward and quotes from this passage. The moment he says “fear not” he drops his blanket. Represents letting go of our fears. Trusting God will provide.
  • 11 The use of the three titles “Savior, Christ, Lord”:
    • Savior and Christ – delivers God’s people.
    • Lord – obeyed and honored.
  • 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 Angel’s Praise (13-14)

  • Angels in no need of Christ’s saving work, but they’re intrigued (1 Peter 1:10-12).
  • A reference to those favored by God. Those, who by grace, are the recipients of His peace.
  • This “peace” transcends the Pax Romana (peace between God and man).
  • The glorious Flash Mob outside is in stark contrast with the quiet manger scene inside.
  • A similar host of angels also arrayed in military fashion 2 Kings 6:11-17. Syrian forces surrounded the city, but a superior spiritual army was shown to Elisha’s servant.
  • It was a multitude of heavenly hosts protecting them.
  • Spiritual warfare 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 emphasize the superiority of spiritual realities.

Extraordinary events clustered in Scripture around periods of new revelation…

The Shepherd’s Response (15-20)

  • Shepherds untrustworthy, lowest class.
    • Frequently prevented from participation in religious rituals.
    • Not allowed to give testimony in court.
  • Holy Spirit caused their testimony to be accepted. This unlikely lot received the privilege of testifying concerning the birth of His Son.
  • Scene not visible to everyone. God opens the eyes of a few outcast/unworthy shepherds — who see and hear > proclaim to the region.
  • The short-lived amazement (impressed/disturbed) 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. 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?
  • We shouldn’t romanticize the shepherds. They had a reputation for a reason.
  • Sin makes all of us unworthy.
  • Your 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 to 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! Worship that lacks hope, transformation, and humility is not Christian worship.
    • Christian worship replaces our fears with hope.
    • Christian worship transforms our worldview.
    • Christian worship begins with a sense of our unworthiness.