Keeping Christ in CHRISTmas – Day #21 - The Night Shepherds Became Missionaries (Luke 2:8–20) – Part 2
The Night Shepherds Became Missionaries (Luke 2:8–20)
This is Part 2 of a 2 Part devotion. You can visit yesterday’s post for Part 1.
Luke 2:15–16, “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. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” After hearing this wonderful news, the shepherds determined to discover for themselves if what God had told them through the angels was true. And they did not take their time about it; they made haste to the Bethlehem stable where Jesus lay. Although the town was ordinary and the stable and manger were common for the day, there was nothing at all common or ordinary about the Person the shepherds saw lying in the manger: they saw the only begotten Son of God, the Saviour of the world. In an ecumenical era when society increasingly emphasizes a multitude of pathways to heaven, and people are increasingly tolerant to all religions and gods except for Jesus Christ, we cannot emphasize enough that Jesus Christ is the Son of the One true God, born of a virgin, who lived a perfectly sinless life, and died on Calvary’s tree for our sins.
Matthew 1:22–23, “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Many religious celebrations of the Christmas holiday leave out this most important reason for joy in the season. They take offense at the truth that Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, “God with us,” but their feelings make it no less fact. “God with us” is what we celebrate; “God with us” is what Christmas is all about. Jesus is the Son of God, but He also came to be the Saviour the world needed. Matthew 1:20–21, “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Every man, woman, boy, and girl on the planet needs a Saviour because we all fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:10–12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
Being a shepherd was not a glorious life-calling in those days. Some theologians have noted shepherds were considered ceremonially unclean and were not allowed into the temple. Further, their word was considered untrustworthy, so that they were not allowed to serve as witnesses in legal matters. Whether or not this was commonly known, what would’ve been certain is that shepherds were lower class citizens. They were poor and dirty men with calloused hands and clothes that likely smelled of the sheep they spent their days and nights tending. Yet God chose them to proclaim to the world that His son had been born. Some of the greatest preachers of the gospel and some of the most faithful Christians to share the Gospel have not been men or women born of especially high pedigree, or who had a life or education the world would consider impressive. Instead, what set them apart is that they had hearts yielded to God. God will use any humble servant who is surrendered to Him and who will do whatever God asks. The willingness of these men is seen in their actions; as soon as they had seen Jesus, they quickly went out to tell others.
When the shepherds realized what they’d seen they couldn’t help but to tell others. Luke 2:17–18, “And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” When we truly realize what God has done for us through salvation, paying our sin debt and securing heaven as our eternal home, we should not be able to keep silent about it but be eager to share. Psalm 66:16, “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” Knowing Jesus as Saviour is the greatest thing that can happen in a person’s life, and he or she should want to tell others about it. In fact, it is our obligation and great privilege to do so. The reason we know about secluded places like the Christmas Islands is because explorers encountered them in their travels and made known these discoveries to the world. And God’s plan for telling the world about the One who came to be “with us” to bring peace on earth involves people like the shepherds who encountered Jesus personally and were willing to make known their discovery to all who would listen. There are yet a few more days left of the Christmas season. Use the time to pause for reflection on the Son of God who came to earth on that first Christmas. Then challenge yourself to be one who is unashamed to proclaim to others why He is the only reason for the season.
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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.