How did you first hear about Jesus?
What were the events surrounding that moment?
How was the message told to you?
Open your Bibles to Luke 2:8-20
Let’s read Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth and then I want you to compare your initial response to that of the shepherds.
The Gospel of Luke is interesting for several reasons. Luke was not one of the original apostles of Jesus. He was a Gentile. He also writes the most orderly account of the life of Jesus, and in some ways, Luke is an apostle for the common people. Luke, one of the synoptic writers of the Gospel, when compared to Matthew’s Gospel, seems to elevate the lowly and outcast, while Matthew appears to elevate those already esteemed. For instance, concerning the birth of Jesus:
Matthew: angels only speak to Joseph.
Luke: angels only speak to Mary.
Matthew: Kings visit Jesus.
Luke: Shepherds visit Jesus.
Matthew: angel announces that Jesus “will save His people from their sins” (1:21; emphasis added).
Luke: the angel announces “good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (2:10; emphasis added).
In these verses, the shepherds are visited by an angel of the Lord. Luke records that this visitation struck fear in the hearts of the shepherds.
Why does a sense of God’s presence often evoke fear in people?
What does it look like to fear God?
Here is the good/bad news about fearing God. If we DO NOT fear God we have something to be afraid of, but if we truly fear God, we have nothing to fear. You will notice this in many of the events in the Bible. Here with the angels, the shepherds did fear and they were told not to fear. The disciples were afraid when Jesus showed up unannounced after His resurrection, and HE comforted them by saying “DON’T be afraid. In Revelations John was afraid when He saw Jesus in all of His glory and he too was told not fear. When we have a deep, healthy, heartfelt reverence for God we have nothing to fear.
As I read verse 11 & 12 something grabs my attention. The angel told the shepherds that the sign of the Messiah’s birth would be a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. The angel also said that the shepherds would find the Babe. To say that they would find the Babe, seems to imply that the shepherds had to search for Baby Jesus.
Do people today really search for Jesus?
How many doors do you think they had to knock on before finding the place where Jesus was born?
How many babies do you suppose they had to reject before finding Jesus?
What “babies” do you need to reject today so that you can find Jesus?
Also, when the shepherds heard the angels they left immediately and shared the Good News with others. Notice that they never once gave concern for their own possessions. There is no mention of them worry about what to do with their sheep, where they would leave them, or who would take care of them, they forsook everything for the blessing of finding Jesus.
What is ONE thing you need to leave behind in exchange for Jesus?
What can you do to help those searching for Jesus find Him?tret