Saturday, December 24, 2011

Faith of a Shepherd

Faith of a Shepherd

Luke 2: 15-18

15 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.”
 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 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.

This Christmas eve service, the Pastor used Luke 2:1-7 as the Scripture verse. But I was captivated by what followed. Let me explain.

The Shepherds who were out in the field that night so many years ago were the first people to learn of the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus. At first they were afraid when the angels all appeared to them announcing the birth of the Messiah. But after they were assured by the angels that they were only there to announce them the most amazing thing ever that would be a blessing to all mankind, they overcame their fear and they decided to investigate further and to see this miracle which was born in Bethlehem.

The Scripture says that they hurried off and found Mary, Joesph and the baby, lying in a manger. But they did not stop there, oh no! They then went back and told everyone they could find about the baby and what the angels had told them about Him!  Everyone was amazed at what they said...these simple nomadic sheepherders who normally probably never said a word to anyone, but now no one could stop there exuberance at what they had found. 

It occurs to me this a perfect picture of how God works today.  If we believe that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, then this story about the birth of Jesus is for us today.  Let me draw several parallels in how God works.

1) God is the one who initiates the miracle.
God is the one who made the birth happen in the first place. This was not initiated by man or by any agency.  It was straight from the Holy Spirit.  Our salvation is the same way. It is initiated by God by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It continues (sanctification) throughout our whole lives. But give thanks to God because of His inexpressible gift! The gift of Jesus.  The true meaning and start of every Christian life.

2) God Uses ordinary people.
In the beginning, God used the shepherds who were just going about their business, but filled them with such joy!  This is really good news for us all because if you really think about it, who of us really deserves such a blessing as to be even told about the salvation that God offers. These humble sheepherders knew the significance of that fact. Do we today?

And finally,

3) They could not contain their joy. They HAD to tell everyone about what they themselves were told and what they knew to be true.

Luke 2:-17-18 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.

I wonder how many of those people that the sheepherders told actually believed what they said.  I don't think it mattered to the shepherds.  What they did, they had to do.  They were so amazed, so astounded, that they just had to tell someone.  They told everyone they came across. 

How about you? Have you heard the news of Jesus Christ? Has God visited you and told you about the salvation which is offered to you today through faith in Jesus?  If you have, then I assure you you are just like those shepherds so many years ago.  I cannot help but tell what the Lord Jesus means to me, and I bet, you are the same.

You see, God still is the same yesterday, today and forever. He still initiates the miracle; He still uses ordinary people who cannot contain their joy and then tell everyone else about Him and what He has done.  Isn't that comforting now that you know the real meaning of what happened in Bethlehem so many years ago?

Merry Christmas everyone!  Now go out with joy and tell someone about it!

Blessings All!