Read Luke 2. Sceptics have always been. Some say we shouldn’t observe December 25 as the birth of Jesus because we don’t know. To that I say, we don’t know. But it is simply the day set aside to remember and celebrate his birth. Just like we have set aside days to honor presidents–and most not on their true birthdays–we do the same for Jesus. There is nothing wrong with it.
In thinking of Christmas, to deny the virgin birth is to deny the purity of Mary. Believing otherwise is to believe she had premarital sex. The Bible tells us she was a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 says Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. The Holy Spirit brought life to Jesus Christ in Mary’s womb. Even Mary asked how it would be because she had not been with a man. How? The answer that Gabriel gave her is still the same: with God nothing is impossible. Secondly, if you deny the virgin birth you also deny the truth of the Word of God. Immanuel means God is with us. He came to dwell and live among us.
Why did God choose shepherds when he gave the news that Jesus was born? God chooses the insignificant, humble and poor. Royalty was available. Paul said in I Corinthians 1:27 that God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. Why? Verse 29 says That no flesh should glory in his presence. It’s not about me or you. It’s about HIM. If you think you are nobody, that you have no big gift to offer him: cheer up! God will use you if you allow him to do so. He uses folks like us for his glory. God also uses those who are doing their job. He can’t use lazy people. The shepherds were tending the sheep. Matthew was at the tax table. Peter, James, and John were fishing. God called them. God uses the usable. The shepherds were available and willing. Mary was available and willing. Be ready. Be available. Isaiah didn’t say “here am I; send XX.” He said “here am I; send me.”
Let’s look at the angel’s message in verses 10-12 and the shepherds’ response in verses 15-20. The message was “fear not.” Verse 10: Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. This is a good reminder today. God still has everything in control. We have never experienced anything like we have in 2020. We don’t have to live in fear. God’s still on his throne. The event was good news. Isaiah prophesied a virgin would conceive and bear a son. Micah prophesied it would happen in Bethlehem. They had been waiting. The angel said he’s here. The event was joy producing. He was not just a baby. He was God in the flesh. There had never been and never will be a child like this one. Matthew 1:21 says And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Joy! Sins forgiven! The message was for all people. He came to the Jews–his own people– but they rejected him. He’s available to all people. The plan of salvation is available to all. If you’re not saved, don’t keep putting it off. The statistics show that the older a person gets, the greater the possibility is that you will not get saved. It’s still possible to be saved. He’s available to all nations and classes–rich and poor. He’s available to those of high morals and low morals. The woman at the well had had five husbands and was living with a man she wasn’t married to. Jesus accepted her. The Pharisees were very religious, but they were lost. They all had to be saved. Alcoholic. Drug addict. Murderer. On and on the list could go. He’s available to all. Peter said God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Getting Covid will not be the worst thing to ever happen to you; dying without Jesus will be. You can be saved. We all can. I’m glad it included an old wretch like me.
What kind of response did the shepherds give? They believed the unbelievable. It was illogical. No rational mind could believe it. I do. I hope you do. The shepherds believed the story. Noah believed it was going to rain even though it never had. We now believe Jesus is coming back to take us to glory. It’s been 2, 000 years since his birth. Many say he’s not coming. He is! There were sceptics in Noah’s day and in Jesus’ day. The birth, death and resurrection happened. One day the trumpet will blast; the dead in Christ will rise, and the believers who are alive will all be caught up to meet Jesus in the air. I believe it! Look at the simplicity of their faith. Verse 15 says they shepherds said Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. Not which may have happened but which has. They believed before they saw the baby in the manger. In verse 16 we see they obeyed. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. They obeyed “with haste.” We expect immediate obedience from our children. God does too. Zacchaeaus came down from the tree with haste at Jesus’ command and received him joyfully. That was the last time Jesus went through the town of Jericho before he died. One day he’ll pass by you the last time. Receive him. They obeyed regardless of the circumstances. They didn’t ask who would watch the sheep. They left anyway. They obeyed God and let him take care of the consequences. They witnessed the event and shared their experience. Verse 17 says they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. We’re called to be witnesses. Just tell somebody what Jesus did for you. Then we see the response of worship. Verse 20 says the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. He is worthy of praise and worship. Praise him in the church. Raise your hand in praise now and then. Say amen. Just praise his name!
The message is the good news that Jesus came. What is your response to this news? Receive Jesus.