Have you ever been to Bethlehem? Let’s head there now, to the hills outside the city, where a group of shepherds have had an incredible experience. They’ve been visited by an angel and told the ‘good tidings of great joy‘ that,
‘unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’Luke 2:10
The angel is then joined by a host of others praising God in the night sky, saying
‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’Luke 2:14
These shepherds were the first to be told that the promised Messiah had
Their response was…
‘And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.‘ (Luke 2:15).
Upon hearing the good news, the shepherds didn’t wait around; they immediately left their sheep and went into the city to go to see Jesus. They didn’t wait for morning, or for a more convenient time. They didn’t stop to arrange for someone to look after their sheep. They knew this was a message from God – they said ‘let us now go‘, and they went.
‘And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.‘ (Luke 2:16)
They were urgent, hurrying to find Jesus. They didn’t get distracted by other things. They didn’t stop on the way. They were single-minded in their purpose. It might have been tricky to find exactly where Jesus was in the city, but they knew they were looking for the Saviour, so they came with haste and found Jesus just like the angels said they would.
‘And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.’ (Luke 2:17)
Once the shepherds had found Jesus, they then told the people they met the good news. They told everyone what the angels had said, that the promised Messiah had come. They spread the word that they had found the Saviour. They didn’t keep it secret. They didn’t wait to see if the angels came once again to confirm things. They weren’t ashamed that Jesus was a baby in a manger. They knew what they had found, they knew how important it was, and they wanted to share it.
‘And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.‘ (Luke 2:20)
They realised just how privileged they had been to hear the news, but also surely they understood that in Jesus they had found the Saviour, their Saviour. These shepherds were given an understanding of the gospel, faith to believe, and their response was joyful praise and worship. Like the angels, they gave God the glory.
Following the shepherds
I hope you have a wonderful time this Christmas and enjoy being with your family and friends. In amongst all the fun and celebrating though, take time to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. As it were, go to Bethlehem and see the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, almighty God as a baby boy, lying in a manger. Think about what it means and why he came to earth.
‘For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your2 Corinthians 8:9
sakeshe became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.’
Just like the shepherds, we’ve all heard the good news of the gospel, that Jesus came to earth to ‘save his people from their sins’. We haven’t seen angels singing in the sky, but we do know the full story – not just about Jesus’s birth, but also his life, death, resurrection and ascension. Jesus is no longer a baby in a manger. He is sitting at his Father’s right hand, ruling as Lord of all, but loving, and making intercession for, his people.
May we all be found among them, and this Christmas follow the shepherds ‘even unto Bethlehem‘ and there by faith find the Lord Jesus.
O what matchless condescensionWilliam Gadsby
The eternal God displays;
Claiming our supreme attention,
To his boundless works and ways.
His own glory
He reveals in gospel days.
In the person of the Saviour,
All his majesty is seen!
Love and justice shine
And, without a veil between,
Worms approach him,
And rejoice in his dear name.
Would we view his brightest glory,
Here it shines in Jesus’ face;
Sing and tell the pleasing story,
O ye sinners saved by grace;
And with pleasure,
Bid the guilty
In his highest work, redemption,
See his glory in a blaze;
Nor can angels ever mention
Aught that more of God displays;
Grace and justice
Here unite to endless days.
tissweet and solemn pleasure,
God to view in Christ the Lord;
Here he smiles and smiles
May my soul his name record;
Praise and bless him,
And his wonders spread abroad.
[A00096 – 22/12/2018]