“Great Joy!” Luke 2:10
The words of the angel, fear not, give it away. The shepherds had fear in every cell of their bodies and had reason for that fear.
Luke reports an angel suddenly appears and then what is this, the glory of the Lord shines around them. It is dark, the sheep are settling in for the night, and then an angel is speaking to them and glory surrounds them. Paint that glory any color, any texture, any intensity that you can imagine and it still cannot come close to what the shepherds experienced. How did the shepherds in the field by their flock at night respond? Heart racing, chills running up and down their bodies, perhaps stifling swear words of terror they hear the angel speak, “Fear not.” Perhaps they didn’t say it, but might at least one of them thought, “This better be good.” And good it was! A message of good news of unbelievable joy for all people.
Their lives would never be the same. No matter what the next day, the next week, the rest of their lives would bring there would always be great joy. Great joy because of the angel appearing and God’s glory shining around them. Yes, but that was just the beginning wasn’t it.
Question of the week: How many angels where in the heavenly host that appeared to the shepherds in the field?
Answer: Scripture does not mention the number of angels present, but a word search reveals much. The Greek word for host (stratia) refers to “the heavenly bodies, stars of heaven–so called on account of their number and order.” The heavenly host present at Jesus’ birth were so numerous they were compared to the stars. The King James Version translates Luke 2:13 to say “a multitude of the heavenly host.” If one heavenly host is as numerous as the stars, how many is a multitude of heavenly host?
Stratia also refers to “an army or band of soldiers.” An entire army of angels descended around those shepherds! Can you imagine the volume of the angels’ praises as they gave glory and worship to God for what He was causing to happen on the earth.