Nearly every time an angel appears in the Bible, the first words he says are, “Do not be afraid” (Dan. 10:12, 19; Matt. 28:5; Rev. 1:17). Little wonder. When the supernatural makes contact with planet Earth, it usually leaves the human observers flat on their faces in catatonic fear. But Luke tells of God making an appearance on earth in a form that does not frighten. In Jesus, born in a barn and laid in a feeding trough, God finds at last a mode of approach that we need not fear. What could be less scary than a newborn baby?
Puzzled skeptics stalked Jesus throughout His ministry. How could a baby in Bethlehem, a carpenter’s son, be the Messiah from God? But a group of shepherds in a field had no doubt about who He was, for they heard the message of good news straight from a choir of angels (2:8–14).
Why did God take on human form? The Bible gives many reasons, some densely theological and some quite practical; but the scene of Jesus as an adolescent lecturing rabbis in the temple gives one clue (v. 46). For the first time, ordinary people could hold a conversation, a debate, with God in visible form. Jesus could talk to anyone—His parents, a rabbi, a poor widow—without first having to announce, “Don’t be afraid.”
In Jesus, God comes close to us.
I’m humbled, Lord, that You would come near to me. But I’m grateful. Thank You.
For further study read Is Jesus God?
God incarnate is the end of fear. F. B. Meyer
While the writers of Matthew, Mark, and John had direct contact with Jesus, Luke was written by a historian after a great amount of research. The others begin simply by diving into the story of Jesus. In the introduction to Luke’s gospel, he begins by giving the reader reason to trust what he or she is about to read. (See Luke 1:1–4.)