Summary: An outline with key thoughts using the shepherd’s responses to the good news for evangelism and encouragement to witness.
You’ve Gotta See This!
Have you ever been so enthused about something unusual that you had to tell someone?
• an amazing sunset
• a colorful hot air balloon
• a double rainbow
• something cute your pet was doing
Do we get so excited about something God is doing that we tell someone, “You’ve gotta see this”?
Now, have you ever been irritated with someone who too often says, “Come here. You’ve gotta see this?”
You don’t want to. You’re busy with a project you want to finish. Or you’re comfortable in your recliner. Or you’re just skeptical that it’s worth going out of your way to see.
Is this the way you’ve responded to God’s activity – to Jesus?
Are you missing the opportunity of lifetime? Are you missing the opportunity of eternity?
Why do people miss the presence and grace of Christ?
1. Some miss Christ because they are too preoccupied to take a serious look.
Many are so busy with the details of celebrating Christmas that they miss Christ himself.
A woman spent the day frantically finishing her shopping. In one large, downtown department store, she impatiently waited for the elevator, her arms full of bulky bags. When the door opened, the elevator was full. Its occupants mumbled as they squeezed closer to make room for one more.
As the doors closed, she said, “Whoever is responsible for this whole Christmas thing ought to be tarred and feathered, strung up, and shot!” The others nodded or grunted in agreement – until one voice was heard, “Not to worry. They already crucified him.”
Are you so busy, distracted and preoccupied that you’re missing the point, missing God’s amazing gift?
2. Some miss Christ because they want to be too sophisticated to accept the simple.
Proud people have trouble with such a humble Savior. The births of princes are surrounded by ceremony, celebration, lavish splendor. The birth of Agustus was announced as “Good News” and he was heralded as a “savior”. He ruled the Roman empire for 44 years, until 14 A.D. He ended the civil wars and reigned during unprecedented outward calm.
Epictitus, the 1st century philosopher wrote of him: “While the emperor may give peace from war on land and sea, he is unable to give peace from suffering, grief and envy. He cannot give peace of heart, for which man yearns more than even for outward peace.” Unfortunately Epictitus did not have the answer either.
No one was more important than Caesar. But “it was this baby in a rural Judean village that brought angels into the visible realm to announce his arrival among men” (source unknown).
Many people don’t want such common-place simplicity. Are you turned off by a redemptive story in which the key players include a peasant couple with smelly shepherds in a smelly stable?
3. Some miss Christ because they are too rigid to look for something new.
We’re set in our ways. We’re skeptical of anything outside the realm of our familiarity, and this plan just seems too risky.
4. Some miss Christ because they are too fearful to get close to Divinity.
Maybe I’m afraid to get very close to the Divine because that will require some things I can’t give. “I can’t hope to measure up.”
Maybe I’m afraid because that will require some things I don’t want to give. “I like my life the way it is.”
Maybe I’m afraid because of the guilt I feel. People have always been agonizingly aware of their sin and unworthiness when they find themselves in the radiance of true holiness. That’s why God’s messengers so often said, “Don’t be afraid.” He becomes present to us so our sin and guilt can be dealt with by confession, repentance, forgiveness and grace.
5. Some miss Christ because they are lacking a credible witness.
That can be because they’re not willing to lend credibility to God’s witnesses. They’re skeptical and simply dismiss any Christian as a “holier-than-thou type.” Or, they don’t want to believe this "crazy story" and find reasons to criticize and discredit believers.
It can also be because we who’ve met the Savior simply fail to be the witnesses we’re called to be. Or, we do it in ways that sacrifice credibility.
Sometimes we make assumptions about people. We’ve seen a wonderful thing God is doing and think, “I’d like to tell someone." Then we have second thoughts like, “No, he’s too busy, or she’s too skeptical, or they won’t care.”
Are you missing the opportunity of a lifetime – of eternity? We can find some real guidance and encouragement if we follow the shepherds.
1. The shepherd’s first response was, “Let’s go and see.”
"Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." (Luke 2:15, NIV)