Summary: The unknown shepherds became the privileged ones to received the Christmas news first. They BELIEVED the message, they BECAME the message and they were TRANSFORMED by the message.
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.