Nothing has so changed the course of humanity as the birth of Jesus Christ. He is the central figure in human history. His birth was unrivalled, His life was undefiled, His nature was divine, His message was the message of God, and His power was no more clearly evident than when He conquered the grave. He is the Perfect Sacrifice for man, He is the Sufficient Sacrifice for man, and He is the Only Sacrifice for man (John 14:6). Yet, God revealed the Wonder of wonders, His only Son, to a group of unsuspecting shepherds.
In Luke 2 we are brought face to face with three beautiful truths concerning the incarnation taught to us by the shepherds.
First, the birth of Jesus was an act of divine intervention. We did not break into God’s light, He crashed into our darkness. God reached out to man, man did not reach out to God. In Luke 2 there is a recurring thought; man was living his life the way he wanted and God broke into the darkness of human experience with the glorious light of His Son. Notice the phrases employed in this chapter. The angel of the Lord “came upon them… said unto them…” (vs. 9,10), “made known” (vs. 15), “which was told them” (vs. 17), “told unto them” (vs. 20). The birth of Jesus Christ was an act of God, an intrusion of God upon the common affairs of man. It was nothing short of miraculous, nothing less than divine! It was not in the heart of man to look for a Saviour (John. 3:19) but it was in the heart of God to reveal One. Christmas should remind us of the wonderful thought that God reached out to us through His Son, took us not only from the place of darkness but from the seat of darkness (Psalm 107:10), and has given us light.
Second, the birth of Jesus Christ and His subsequent life demands immediate attention. The shepherds said, “let us now go” (v. 15), and “they
came with haste.” (v. 16). The word “haste” refers to diligence, urgency and speed. Jesus’ birth demanded from them an immediate response. It evoked in them a desire to take action now. Today is the day of salvation! A splendid revelation was met with a speedy response.
Third, Jesus’ birth resulted in a divine boldness, “…they made known” (v. 17). As these shepherds left that divine experience they published abroad what was told them – a “Saviour” was born. I can only imagine how boring the conversations of a shepherd must have been. Sure there was the odd intense story of fighting off a wild animal but, for the most part, they lived in a world of monotony. Now, finally they have something worth talking about. God has revealed Himself to us through His Son; may we be eager to seek Him, and bold to proclaim who He is to others around us.
As someone so adequately stated, “Don’t get so wrapped up in what the world has to sell that you miss what God has to give.”
This article appears in the December 2009 Open Bible Bulletin. Download it here!