"For Unto You Is Born This Day" – The Beautiful Promise of Luke 2:11

starry sky, for unto you is born this day in the city of david a savior who is christ the lord

"For Unto You Is Born This Day" – The Beautiful Promise of Luke 2:11

The church was dark, and all the lights were pointed to the stage. Chris and I were sitting in the balcony awaiting our cue to hand our newborn son over to friends from church who were playing the characters of Mary and Joseph. I looked down at my blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy who was a promise from the Lord. Two years prior, I had given my life to Jesus. As I fumbled in my understanding of who Jesus was throughout the first two years, the words, “For unto you is born this day a Savoir” were just words. But then it was our cue to pass off our sleeping boy. Mary carried him down into the nativity scene. As she laid our son in the manager, he woke up, whimpered before letting out a lustful cry, and raised his hand. The whole audience was hushed and then tears of joy, whistles, and thunderous applause erupted. Our son was a visual representation of the promise Jesus fulfilled thousands of years ago.

manger under starry sky

What Does Luke 2:11 Mean for Israel?

Our little Elijah represented the Son of God, who came to this earth birthed by a young girl and became our Savior. This One who was the one long-predicted, long-awaited, the one anointed above all others (Psalm 45:7). The final anointed King. The final anointed Prophet. The final anointed Priest. He was the Messiah.

Why Is Luke 2:11 Good News of Great Joy?

Jesus is our Savior—and we all need one because all of us have sinned and fallen short in the eyes of God. But not Jesus. He is the Son of God who has authority on this earth to forgive our sins against God. That’s why Jesus chose to come to earth, it’s why God sent Him. Messiah means, “anointed one,” who is the ruler of the universe. Therefore, a Savior was born who is the Messiah, the Christ!

This passage serves as one of the most pivotal moments for all mankind. It is one of the most theologically rich passages in all of Scripture. Let us never lose sight of the facts of this beautiful promise. Luke 2:11 says, “For unto you is born this day a Savior.”

On a day — in real history.

In a city — in a real world.

The Savior — came to take away all our guilt.

The Christ — came to fulfill all our hopes.

The Lord — came to defeat all our enemies, to save us from sin and our enemies.

This promise was followed up with a celebration in heaven that spilled over to earth:

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host [army!] praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13–14).

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Kevron2001

baby jesus christmas advent stained glass

What Child Is This?

Two gospels talk about the night surrounding Jesus’ birth. Mathew 1-2 shares the accounts of Mary and her husband, Joseph and includes the story of the three wise men (the Magi of the East). Luke 1-2 doesn’t mention the three wise men but share more about Mary, her cousin Elizabeth, the shepherds, Anna and Siemen, and of course John.

Some question whether Luke 2:11 is really about Jesus. If not, then how can so many Scriptures and prophecies be fulfilled? More than 300 prophecies were recorded and foretold of His coming, His birth, His life on earth—His ministry, His death, and resurrection.

Jesus was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18, 23, 25; Luke 1:27).

Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee (Matthew 2:23; Luke 1:26; 2:4).

Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4–7).

After Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth (Matthew 1:23, Matthew 2:23; Luke 2:39, Isaiah 7:14).

What Does Isaiah 9 Have to Do with 'For Unto You Is Born This Day a Savior'?

The above Bible verses were just a few of the references to Jesus’ life and birth. There are hundreds of scriptures connecting the description of Jesus in Luke 2:11 with the rest of the Bible. One passage, in particular, is connected to His birth from the Old Testament. Isaiah 9:6 is a prophecy written about 700 years before Jesus entered this world, around 701 to 681 B.C. It was written by a prophet named Isaiah who lived in Jerusalem (about 2,700 years ago) during the time when the Assyrian Empire had conquered the northern part of the Jewish homeland.

Isaiah recorded in 7:14 the foreshadowing of Christ’s virgin birth. He later talks of Christ’s birth in 9:7. But Isaiah 9:6-7 tells us, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.” It becomes a message of hope in the coming years and is still a message of hope today because it describes a mighty king and a reign of peace. Later Isaiah prophesized Jesus’ death. Isaiah 53:5-6 states, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Photo Credit: © Getty Images

painting of angel coming to announce birth of jesus to shepherds, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour who is christ the lord

Why Is Luke 2:11 Good News of Great Joy?

Luke 2:11 not only is full of promises for each of us who individually come to Christ, but it is a future prophecy of when God establishes His everlasting Kingdom in Jerusalem in the years to come.  In the book of Revelation, it is mentioned three times by the apostle John as the "holy city," New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, rather than being in heaven (Revelation 3:12; 21:2, 10). New Jerusalem will be set up on the new - cleansed and purified - earth. God, Himself will dwell with men - not in heaven but in New Jerusalem on earth:

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. ... He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son" (Revelation 21:1-4, 7)

Luke 2:11 is also the announcement and fulfillment of the “Davidic king.” Meaning God made a covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7 stating, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

The fulfillment came nearly 1,000 years later through King David’s lineage and it confirmed the promises made in the Davidic covenant of a son being born that would save the world.

No matter when you read the precious, beautiful promise of Luke 2:11, may we not take it for granted. May it bring thunderous applause within our hearts as we praise our mighty King and Savior!


This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.

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Iron Sharpens Iron
Blessed Are the Peacemakers
Faith without Works Is Dead
Be Anxious for Nothing

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Zvonimir Atleti


Heather Riggleman is an author, national speaker, former award-winning journalist and podcast co-host of the Moms Together Podcast. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 21 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal,  Mama Needs a Time Out, and Let’s Talk About Prayer and a contributor to several books.  Her work has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, MOPS, Today's Christian Woman, and Focus On the Family. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.