Keeping Christ in CHRISTmas – Day #21 - The Night Shepherds Became Missionaries (Luke 2:8–20) – Part 1
The Night Shepherds Became Missionaries (Luke 2:8–20)
In the middle of the Indian Ocean is a small land mass surrounded by crashing waves known as Christmas Island. The island, a territory of Australia that is home to about two thousand residents, was so named because it was discovered on Christmas Day 1643. Although too small to be of much economic value, it is known for its scenery: 63 percent of the island is a national park full of beautiful hiking trails and mountains and a breathtaking waterfall. Several of its plant and animal species can be found nowhere else in the world. Just over 9,000 miles away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is another beautiful place also bearing the name. Christmas Island; this one has miles of white, sandy beaches surrounded by jagged cliffs and 120 square miles of a secluded coral lagoon. This Christmas Island, the entirety of which is a wildlife sanctuary, is in the world’s farthest forward time zone and is one of the first inhabited places on Earth to experience the New Year. The Christmas Islands, and places like them, remind us that Christmas should be a sort of island—a time when we can pause, pull away from the busyness and cares of a long year, and spend a few moments in peaceful contemplation of the greatest Gift ever given to mankind, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke 2 shows us that God can bring peace to all who look to Him. In the middle of a difficult time in human history when taxes were on the rise, poverty was widespread, and it seemed that God was silent, He sent His only Son to be the good news and glad tidings the world needed. The Lord Jesus was presented in a humble manger in a stable of Bethlehem, and God chose common working men—a group of shepherds—to proclaim the news of His Son’s birth to the world.
This was an ordinary night of work for a group of ordinary shepherds. Luke 2:8, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” They were simply going about their business, doing what they did every other night, when something amazing happened. Luke 2:9, “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” These shepherds suddenly heard a heavenly announcement. Luke 2:13–14, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:10–12, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The message from the angels was for them to “Fear not”. They were not just a little afraid; the Bible says they were “sore afraid”. God did not want them to be frightened, but calm, because His message was not one of doom and destruction. Rather, His message was that God had come to be “with us.”
Good tidings are the same word from which we get the word Gospel. This good news proclaimed by the angels is for everyone. God, in His love, accepts all who come to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” People who are saved rejoice in the fact that salvation is not only for those who are members of some exclusive club. Everyone can experience the forgiveness of sins and assurance of eternal security. It matters not where we come from or what dark sins are in our past; the Good News is available to all who will believe.
Luke 2:13–14, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The angels message promised peace to the earth because of the birth of Jesus. The promise concerning His peace was not limited to the day of His coming, but to the future when Jesus Christ comes again as the Prince of Peace, King of kings, and Lord of lords. John 14:1–3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Jesus Christ promises peace to those who believe Him now, but peace will also come to all the earth as He establishes His kingdom in the future. For every Old Testament prophesy about the first coming of Christ there are eight about his second coming. Isaiah 9:6–7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” We may not know the day or the hour, but we believe the Word of God; soon Jesus will return as the Prince who will bring peace to the earth, fulfilling his promise. Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It is also a fact that He will bring peace to the world for all of eternity.
Please Visit Tomorrow For Part Two of This Devotion.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.