Christmas Reflections - Day 11
The Good News to the Shepherds (Luke 2:8-14)
The birth of Jesus did not end with the prophecies about him before his birth, it did not end with his been born in a manger. After his birth, angels appeared to the shepherds to announce his birth.
The birth of Jesus brought angels from heaven; the angels sure must have been surprised seeing the Creator becoming known as the Creature; seeing the Word coming as a little baby.
The first announcement of the birth of the Messiah was given by the angel to some shepherds. Surprisingly, the announcement was neither given to the high and the mighty nor was the Saviour born in the palace. The announcement of the birth of Jesus to the Shepherds is a manifestation of the grace of God towards humanity. Shepherds generally in Israel were more or less like outcasts. Their work made them ceremonially unclean, it also takes them away from the temple for long but God seemed to have a concern for them - God calls the poor and the lonely.
Naturally, when the angel appeared the Shepherds were afraid. Again, "fear not" which is a major theme in the book of Luke is repeated. The angels said "I bring to you good news which will be of great joy to all people," and the good news is that God did not send a soldier to come and save the nation from Roman rule but he sent the Saviour that will meet the greatest need of humans. The message the angel gave to the Shepherds was a message of peace; peace to the world that has been decimated by war and a lot of other things.
Every man yearns for the peace of the heart and no human organization can give that. The other thing in the story is that we find the angels praising God at the beginning of this new creation. The plan of salvation is "glory to God". Before now, God's glory dwelt in the tabernacle in Exodus 40:34 and in the temple, 2 Chronicles 7:1-3.
That glory had departed because of the nation's sin, that same glory was returning to us in the person of Jesus Christ, like we have in John 1:14 - and the Word became flesh...
The message of the angels to the shepherds was a message that was personal and it was a message of Praise. Personal because the shepherds were afraid but God meets man where he is, the Saviour was near; the Saviour was available; the Saviour was in the city of David; the Saviour to the shepherds and the Saviour to the whole world. It was a message of Praise because he just said glory to God in the highest. The glory of God is declared in his salvation. When somebody comes to faith in Christ there is joy in heaven. The message of the angel was also a message of Peace on earth -verse 14. Since the fall of Man, there's been no peace on earth. In Christ, people can find peace and can make peace with God and this issue of Peace was made possible by the one in the manger.
It is very possible to have a personal walk with the Saviour. It is also possible to have personal peace with him, this and some other sayings the shepherds came to terms with. There's also a reality that we have to come to terms with. As we celebrate let us remember, like the angels shared the good news to the Shepherds, let us also be willing to share the good news to as many as come across us or we come across.
Nobody is less important to hear the good news of the birth of the Saviour. It is our duty to speak the word to a world that is lost; to a world that is looking for peace; to a world that is confused.
Jesus came that we may have peace.