And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. Luke 2:17-18.
Have you been fortunate enough to experience some over-the-top good, happy and “warm your heart” moments? Maybe it was when you knew you had found the “one for you”. Maybe when you were blessed with a child. Or maybe you are even so blessed as to have grandchildren! Whatever it is, you could not possibly keep the news to yourself, right? At least until the past few years, many of those events were shared in the local newspaper so we could get the word out to as many people as possible. Nowadays, of course, our news can be disseminated to the entire world in a few seconds. From what I have observed since joining Facebook only a few days ago, people are eager to share personal stories of all kinds. That’s really no surprise since it is so normal and natural to share good news with people.
Yes, those shepherds reacted in a normal and natural way to what they had seen, heard and experienced. They had been privileged to be in the presence of the Savior! The King of Kings! The Messiah! We have no evidence that they spoke a word to anyone between the hillside where the angels sang and the time they arrived at the manger in Bethlehem. However, take notice of what they did after being near Jesus. Luke tells us they shared the good news far and wide. No one had to tell them, they were just doing what was normal and natural. Even without realizing it, they were planting seeds as they went along. Somehow, this newborn child caused a change in the hearts of those shepherds. Years later a tax collector named Levi would give up his career and follow this Jesus even when all He said was, “Follow Me”. When you meet Jesus, you know it and if you trust Him, you are never the same again. And we are talking so much more than an over-the-top, good, happy and “warm your heart” moment. We are talking about a forever relationship with the Creator of the universe!
How did people react to the news shared by the shepherds? Various translations use words like they “wondered”, “marveled” or “were amazed” by what they were told. Luke doesn’t say all those who heard it believed. Most likely some did and some did not. At least not the first time they heard about Jesus. But, whatever the response, the shepherds shared what they knew to be true in a natural and normal way. Sharing what we have seen, heard and experienced concerning Jesus is still the same today. So, go ahead, plant those seeds. Let people know what has been made known to you about this Jesus. Focus on being natural and normal without being concerned with the various responses you may observe. That is where we hand off the baton to God and He will take it from there.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told to them. Luke 2:20
Luke gives us one more divine insight before moving on to subsequent events in the earthly life of Jesus. It involves, shall we say, the “new” shepherds. They went back to work just as they had done so many nights before. They returned to the same pretty much unnoticed tasks that consumed their time before. The night sky was back to normal. The quietness was as evident as ever before. The same familiar sights and smells were still there. But now, it all looked much more brilliant and vibrant. There was a new Presence with them now. And now they could not help but praise and glorify God.
When we first encountered the shepherds in Luke 2, we made much of the fact that they were “lowly” people in those days. We need to make a note that the account in Matthew 2 tells of three well educated and well-to-do men who were made aware of the newborn King by means of a divinely placed star. And they were not Jewish like the shepherds were! Not only did the angel say”… behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.” God painted it in a picture by using in His kingdom work people from the lowest to the highest cultural levels of the day.
Hopefully you have been able to sense that this portion of the Word has had a very personal effect on me. God used these verses back in 2001 when He began to make Connie and me aware of a sense of His calling to serve Him in an international setting. Yes, He had prepared us in lots of ways over a long period of time. But then at just the right time His Word helped me understand how doing so would be a normal and natural response to a supernatural encounter which first occurred when I was 9 years old.
Dad, in about an hour and a half I will be preaching about the shepherds. Why? Because of their impact on you and how your insight into Scripture has had an impact on me.
Merry Christmas!!! I’ll see you Thursday night!!!!!!!