This photo was taken outside of Bethlehem looking at the hills where the shepherds would have been with their flocks when they received the news of Jesus’ birth. Today it is filled with dwellings but you can still envision the open fields filled with sheep bedded down for the night protected by their shepherds. As Pastor Alex pointed out the fields were not far from the town of Bethlehem where Mary and Joseph were staying with baby Jesus lying in a manger. Seeing and hearing from the angels of God was a life changing experience for these humble, lowly people. God chose them specifically to be the first to hear and worship the new born Savior.
Just as with Zechariah and Mary, the angels told them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10 Fear would be an immediate reaction to seeing a heavenly being. Their minds would have been racing- what have we done wrong, why us, what is this all about? The angels told them they had good news! This news was to be for all people not just the religious elite and wealthy, but all people from the kings to the common man, from Jews to Gentiles. This news would bring JOY! Does this appearance and news brought by the angels cause Joy in your life? What about Jesus evokes joy for you? Is it His saving you, His loving you, His holding you during hard times, or His eternal place He has for you in heaven? If your reaction is joy, why not share the joy with others? Pastor Alex calls this the difference that helps us live wisely and differently. The brushes with Jesus in our lives help us put aside our fears and move into action.
The shepherds immediately moved into action after hearing the good news the angels brought. “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” verse 15 They desired to see this Savior for themselves. How can you be like the angels and create a desire to see and hear from Jesus in the lives of others? Pastor Alex suggested that the desire to tell others comes from a changed life, an encounter with Jesus yourself. Through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within each believer, we can show others Jesus by our words and actions. Once we meet Jesus, we are never the same. He transforms us and leads us to grow more and more like Him.
The Shepherds came and found Jesus just as the angels had said. They bowed down and worshipped him. Scripture tells us what happened when they left in verses 17,18,20, “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told”. They were forever changed as they were able to share their amazing story, they were able to speak boldly about the newly arrived Savior and they knew that God was faithful to His promise to provide a Savior.
Each of those things that resulted from their encounter with the living God can be said of you as a believer. You have a story to tell of how you met Jesus and what He has done in your life. You can speak boldly about His grace, mercy, love and ability to save and forgive. You know that because of what God has done in your life and you have seen that He is faithful and keeps His promises. Who can you tell your story to? Who needs to hear of God’s love and forgiveness first hand from someone who has encountered Jesus? You can also speak of Christ’s love and transformation in your own life because you have experienced it yourself. Your story is your story and no one can say that it isn’t- it is personal!
Why not be bold, like the shepherds, and speak out about your Savior? Look for God moments this season to speak of Him. I know it is trite but still so true, “Jesus is the reason for the Season’. Let others know of Jesus and His amazing love.
This Christmas | The Shepherd's Perspective
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Sermon series, "This Christmas" Today Alex teaches from Luke 2:8-20
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