on Luke 2 :11
A Savior, which is Christ the Lord - A Savior, σωτηρ, the same as Jesus from σωζειν, to make safe, to deliver, preserve, to make alive, thus used by the Septuagint for החיה hecheiah, to cause to escape; used by the same for פלט to confide in, to hope. See the extensive acceptations of the verb in Mintert, who adds under Σωτηρ: "The word properly denotes such a Savior as perfectly frees us from all evil and danger, and is the author of perpetual salvation." On the word Jesus, see John 1:29 (note).
Which is Christ. Χριστος, the anointed, from χριω to anoint, the same as משיה Messiah, from משח mashach. This name points out the Savior of the world in his prophetic, regal, and sacerdotal offices: as in ancient times, prophets, kings, and priests were anointed with oil, when installed into their respective offices. Anointing was the same with them as consecration is with us. Oil is still used in the consecration of kings.
It appears from Isaiah 61:1, that anointing with oil, in consecrating a person to any important office, whether civil or religious, was considered as an emblem of the communication of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. This ceremony was used on three occasions, viz. the installation of prophets, priests, and kings, into their respective offices. But why should such an anointing be deemed necessary? Because the common sense of men taught them that all good, whether spiritual or secular, must come from God, its origin and cause. Hence it was taken for granted,
1. That no man could foretell events, unless inspired by the Spirit of God. And therefore the prophet was anointed, to signify the communication of the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge.
2. That no person could offer an acceptable sacrifice to God for the sins of men, or profitably minister in holy things, unless enlightened, influenced, and directed by the Spirit of grace and holiness. Hence the priest was anointed, to signify his being divinely qualified for the due performance of his sacred functions.
3. That no man could enact just and equitable laws which should have the prosperity of the community and the welfare of the individual continually in view, or could use the power confided to him only for the suppression of vice and the encouragement of virtue, but that man who was ever under the inspiration of the Almighty.
Hence kings were inaugurated by anointing with oil. Two of these offices only exist in all civilized nations, the sacerdotal and regal; and in some countries the priest and king are still consecrated by anointing. In the Hebrew language, משח mashach signifies to anoint; and המשיח ha-mashiach, the anointed person. But as no man was ever dignified by holding the three offices, so no person ever had the title ha-mashiach, the anointed one, but Jesus the Christ. He alone is King of kings, and Lord of lords: the king who governs the universe, and rules in the hearts of his followers; the prophet to instruct men in the way wherein they should go; and the great high priest, to make atonement for their sins.
Hence he is called the Messias, a corruption of the word המשיח ha-mashiach, The anointed One, in Hebrew; which gave birth to ὁ Χριστος, ho Christos, which has precisely the same signification in Greek. Of him, Melchizedek, Abraham, Aaron, David, and others, were illustrious types; but none of these had the title of The Messiah, or the Anointed of God: This does, and ever will, belong exclusively to Jesus the Christ.
The Lord. Κυριος, the supreme, eternal Being, the ruler of the heavens and the earth. The Septuagint generally translate יהוה Yehovah by Κυριος. This Hebrew word, from היה hayah, he was, properly points out the eternity and self-existence of the Supreme Being; and if we may rely on the authority of Hesychius, which no scholar will call in question, Κυριος is a proper translation of יהוה Yehovah, as it comes from κυρω, - τυγχανω, I am, I exist. Others derive it from κυρος, authority, legislative power. It is certain that the lordship of Christ must be considered in a mere spiritual sense, as he never set up any secular government upon earth, nor commanded any to be established in his name; and there is certainly no spiritual government but that of God: and indeed the word Lord, in the text, appears to be properly understood, when applied to the deity of Christ. Jesus is a prophet, to reveal the will of God, and instruct men in it. He is a priest, to offer up sacrifice, and make atonement for the sin of the world. He is Lord, to rule over and rule in the souls of the children of men: in a word, he is Jesus the Savior, to deliver from the power, guilt, and pollution of sin; to enlarge and vivify, by the influence of his Spirit; to preserve in the possession of the salvation which he has communicated; to seal those who believe, heirs of glory; and at last to receive them into the fullness of beatitude in his eternal joy.
on Luke 2 :11
on Luke 2 :11
2:11 To you - Shepherds; Israel; mankind.