The birth of Jesus Christ was not revealed to kings or rulers. It was not even revealed to the religious elite.
• God has decided to announce His coming, the birth of Jesus Christ, to ordinary shepherds out in the fields.
• They were probably unlearned, and without status, but they are willing to BELIEVE.
(1) They BELIEVED God’s Message
Their first response to the angel’s news:
2:15 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."
At Christmas, the angels brought the news to a few people - Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. Their challenge is, can they trust what God said.
• It was not an easy thing, especially for Mary and Joseph. The message was really difficult to believe, it wasn’t normal or logical.
• But Mary, Joseph, and now the shepherds chose to BELIEVE God.
• God has chosen those who are willing to BELIEVE Him.
It was remarkable that the shepherds believed. They were told this Saviour; the Messiah (anointed one) would be found “lying in a manger”.
• It does not make sense, actually. He was not born in the palace.
• Yet their first response was “let’s go…” Let’s go to a stable and find the Messiah.
• Faith led them to Bethlehem. Faith led them to Jesus.
King Herod has the chance to know, but his response wasn’t faith. He reacted with jealousy and anger.
• He was thinking about protecting his throne; he was thinking about himself.
• He wanted to kill Jesus, but since he could not find him, he “gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were 2 years old and under”. (Matt 2:16)
The religious people – chief priests and teachers of the law – they were able to tell King Herod what prophet Micah has recorded in the Scriptures (Mt 2:4-6) regarding Christ’s birth, BUT they did not seek Him.
• They refused to believe. They had chosen to believe in their own limited knowledge and wrong beliefs.
• They had chosen to let go of the truth and believe falsehood.
Mary believed. Joseph believed. The shepherds believed. The wise men from the East believed. And they saw JESUS.
• Those who believe God will see the WORKS of God. When we believe God’s word, we will see God’s works. They were blessed because they believed.
• Heb 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
• After John finished writing the Gospel, he ended with these words: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)
(2) They BECAME God’s Message
2:17 When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.
No one told them to. It was something spontaneous. It was the natural thing to do – to tell someone. They became the first missionaries!
• The angels did not appear anymore. The shepherds, and subsequently all who believes of Jesus, became God’s witnesses!
• Today we are God’s messengers! We got to know because for over 2000 years, believers have been sharing this good news.
Why? Why did it happen this way? It’s the JOY of seeing Jesus.
• It was the “good news of great joy” that the angels had said (2:10).
• The shepherds heard, and now saw Jesus with their own eyes. Jesus’ birth gave them joy and hope.
• This joy excites them and gives them the motivation to tell someone.
It is the same motivation we have today. If we have lost that joy and excitement, then we need to SEE Jesus again.
• See again the works of God. Look around and see what God has done and is doing in people’s lives today.
• Share testimonies and hear testimonies. Read books about what He is going, in people’s lives and in the mission fields. Listen to these stories.
Train our eyes to see, not the works of men, but the works of God.
• Do I have a lull period, when I lose the excitement in ministry? Yes, when I lost sight of what He is doing and sees only the works of men.
• When we see and read the news today, we’re hearing and reading the works of men – the scandals, crimes, killings, betrayals, the violence, the evil.
• This news can only bring us sadness, gloom and despair. Don’t fill our minds with the news of men’s works (and often behind these, the works of Satan). We do not want to update ourselves with such news and scandals.
We want to update ourselves on the works of God! We want to find out what He is doing; to hear, to see and to rejoice at what God is doing!
• Ps 66:5 “Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man's behalf!”
• Ps 92:4-5 “For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. 5 How great are your works, O LORD, how profound your thoughts!”
• Ps 111:2 “Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them.”
The shepherds could not keep it quiet anymore. They wanted the world to know.
• These ordinary shepherds became God’s first batch of missionaries, and they were not even religious people.
• They did not hold any positions in society nor have much religious knowledge. They were simply people of faith who have encountered God!
• If you are like them, then that makes you effective witnesses for God. No special qualification is needed.
Have we lost that joy and excitement? Revisit the works of God and see what great things He has done.
• Let the Lord rekindle that joy in our hearts. We want to be reminded and be excited about what God is doing!
(3) They Were TRANSFORMED by God’s Message
2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
They were a bunch of happy shepherds. They were returning to the same fields but as different people – now with faith, joy and hope.
• The surrounding has not changed. The fields will remain dark and cold, but the future is filled with light and hope.
• God has come. The Saviour has come. Our lives can no longer be the same. His presence will and must bring about a change.
• If you return to your life and find everything the same, you have not really met Christ.
• Meet Christ every day in your quiet time and it will change the way you see your world.
You don’t need to change the surrounding. You just need to have God with you.
• His name is Immanuel. God is always with you, if you care to see Him with eyes of faith and receive Him. God’s presence will make all the difference in your life.
The Bible says, “The shepherds returned…” Where to? To the fields they work in.
• They did not stay in the stable praising God, although that would be good.
• They did not move to the Temple and glorify God, although that would be nice.
• They went back to where they live and work – to the fields where they shepherd.
God wants us to go back to where we work – to the marketplace, back to our homes, BUT BRINGING the joy and the hope we’ve received from Him.
• The place we live and work is the place we glorify God. The school is the place where we praise God. The office is the place we let the joy of the Lord flows.
• He is here. He is present, not in church, but where we are. We bring the Lord’s gift of joy and hope to where we are.
Christmas will come and go, but Christ remains.
• Soon we will take down the Christmas tree, the lights and the decorations. We will go back to work and children will go back to school.
• But life need not return to routines. Christ has come. God is with us. The blessings of Christmas stay with us throughout the year.
The 3 main motifs of the Christmas decoration at Orchard Road are a tree, a heart and a dove. Tree represents JOY, heart represents LOVE and dove represents PEACE.
• We will take down these decorations after Christmas, but the truth is, God’s gifts of JOY, LOVE and PEACE stays with us today.
• Don’t let Christmas come and go, year after year, without you putting your trust in Jesus as your Saviour.
• Life has changed for the shepherds because they’ve met Christ, and so can yours.
Look at our world today – we’ve gain more knowledge, greater skills, better gadgets, faster machines, and the best of everything there is, than the generations before.
• But life has not been better – people are less joyful, more stressful, less contented, more violent, still seeking for love, joy, hope and peace.
• Why? …because only JESUS can give us that. Only God can change your life. Only He can truly fulfil you.
• Come back and take a good look at Jesus, for those who are weary and tired with life. You will end up “glorifying and praising God”; you’ll be happy and transformed.
When we receive Christ as our Saviour, our sin will be forgiven. We have a new life.
• Encounter Jesus and your life will change.
• Circumstances around you will not change you If you can really SEE Jesus, it will change the way you see your world.
Let’s bring God’s love, joy and hope with us, to where God has place us.
, "Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Saviour. Thank you for dying for me and forgiving me of all my sins. Come into my life and be my Lord and guide. In Jesus' name, AMEN."