|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:8-20 Angels were heralds of the new-born Saviour, but they were only sent to some poor, humble, pious, industrious shepherds, who were in the business of their calling, keeping watch over their flock. We are not out of the way of Divine visits, when we are employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it. Let God have the honour of this work; Glory to God in the highest. God's good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds to his praise. Other works of God are for his glory, but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest. God's goodwill in sending the Messiah, brought peace into this lower world. Peace is here put for all that good which flows to us from Christ's taking our nature upon him. This is a faithful saying, attested by an innumerable company of angels, and well worthy of all acceptation, That the good-will of God toward men, is glory to God in the highest, and peace on the earth. The shepherds lost no time, but came with haste to the place. They were satisfied, and made known abroad concerning this child, that he was the Saviour, even Christ the Lord. Mary carefully observed and thought upon all these things, which were so suited to enliven her holy affections. We should be more delivered from errors in judgment and practice, did we more fully ponder these things in our hearts. It is still proclaimed in our ears that to us is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord. These should be glad tidings to all.
Verse 12. - Lying in a manger. This was to be the sign. On that night there would, perhaps, be no other children born in the Bethlehem village; certainly the shepherds would find no other newly born infant cradled in a manger.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And this shall be a sign unto you,.... When they should come to Bethlehem, and to the inn where Joseph and Mary were:
ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger; for though there might be many other children, in the inn, yet none else in swaddling clothes, at least lying in a manger: this sign would distinguish the new born Saviour from all others; had not the angel given them this direction, they would never have thought to have looked for, and found: him in such a place: and moreover, it might have been a stumbling to them, and an objection with them against his being Christ, the Lord, had they not been told beforehand where he was; but by this means this objection was prevented, and this stumbling block was removed out of the way, and they were prepared to see him, embrace, and believe in him, in this mean condition.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. a sign—"the sign."
the babe—"a Babe."
a manger—"the manger." The sign was to consist, it seems, solely in the overpowering contrast between the things just said of Him and the lowly condition in which they would find Him—Him whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, "ye shall find a Babe"; whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, "wrapt in swaddling bands"; the "Saviour, Christ the Lord," lying in a manger! Thus early were these amazing contrasts, which are His chosen style, held forth. (See 2Co 8:9.)
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