Sheep are mentioned more than any other animal in the Bible. David watched over his father’s flocks; sacrifices highlighted the lambs brought for slaughter; and Jesus is portrayed as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Imagine—He is both the Good Shepherd and the Passover Lamb!
How right, then, the announcement of His birth be made to the shepherds watching their flocks on the outskirts of Bethlehem. These simple individuals launched the history-altering celebration of Christmas. They proved joy can infect even the most unlikely of subjects and that Christmas is for everyone.
Keeping Watch Over Their Flocks
We never tire of visualizing Luke 2:8-9: “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.”
Imagine the shepherds gazing into the darkness, seeing the outlines of their sheep stretching over the hill. Suddenly the darkness was pierced by a heavenly visitant who radiated light and reflected the glory of God. It was beyond their wildest dreams, and they were terrified. But the angel said: “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2:10).
The men evidently regained their senses enough to hear the glorious announcement—good tidings of great joy. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
When any newsworthy organization puts out a press release, it is to-the-point and clear. Here’s heaven’s press release, and it’s arguably the simplest explanation of the Gospel ever given.
This announcement was followed by great rejoicing and celebration: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”
Coming With Haste
The shepherds sprang into action. “Let us now go to Bethlehem,” they exclaimed, “and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke says they came with haste, responding instantly to the message of the Savior.
When the message of God comes to us, our only safe option is instant obedience. Is there some task God wants you to do? Most of all, do you need to receive Christ as Savior? Respond as the shepherds did: with haste.
Luke went on to say: “[They] found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:16). Imagine the privilege of being the only invited guests to witness the marvel of the ages. It was God’s RSVP, and they responded with haste.
What a privilege to see and know the Son of God! How wonderful to receive an invitation to love the Lord, be included in His family, have a part of His birth, death, and resurrection, and be invited to live forever in His home. No wonder the shepherds came quickly! We must do the same.
Making Widely Known
The shepherds didn’t return unaffected to their sheepfolds. Luke 2:17-18 says, “Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”
When we come with haste and discover Christ, we can’t help but speak of what we’ve seen and heard. That is how our message spreads, as we sing: “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!”
Christmas and joy are inseparable.
In Luke 2, the Lord recorded a scene for you and for those shepherds. If you respond as they did, it will bring you a joy beyond your wildest dreams.
This Christmas give Him your life. Do it with haste! For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God,
and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
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You’ve no doubt heard the story about the two hunters in the forest who were surprised by a huge grizzly bear. They immediately took off running with the bear in hot pursuit. The slower of the two men yelled out, “We’ll never outrun this bear!” The man in the lead yelled back over his shoulder, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you!”
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