“When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what had been told them by the shepherds.” (Luke 2: 17-18)
The Gospel of Luke reports that at the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherds nearby were told by an angel that a Savior, the long awaited Messiah, was born. They were told where they could find him and how they would recognize him — in Bethlehem, tightly wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in an animal’s feeding trough.
God chose shepherds, one of the humblest of occupations at the time, to be the news media of the day to spread the word about God becoming one of us.
We can only imagine the reaction of Mary and Joseph to having some complete strangers visit them and share a story that confirmed what they, too, had been told by an angel – that the son born to Mary was the Son of God, Savior, and Messiah.
A savior of the world being born was of course amazing news. This good news that the shepherds first proclaimed 2000 years ago is just as important to the world today as it was then. A savior has been born! The creator has become one of his created! An anointed one has come to reconcile God and mankind, and be an example in reconciling each of us to one another. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, this savior offers to dwell in us and enable us to be and bring his presence to the people and circumstances in our lives.
Like the shepherds, we may consider ourselves unlikely heralds that Jesus is still present in the world today, but he is present to all who accept his offer to dwell in them. We have the same opportunity as the shepherds to spread the word about Jesus in what we have seen, heard, and experienced.
Over the past few years, I have been participating in a Christian ministry to the local jail. The venue of the jail has certainly taken me outside my comfort zone. But on one occasion I found myself sharing about how in between the first and second coming of Jesus, there is a third coming – when we invite Jesus to come and reside in our hearts. Sharing how Jesus changed my life prompted three of the inmates to share how Jesus had changed their lives. This was remarkable because inmates are very cautious about sharing anything personal in front of one another.
As with the shepherds, I was an unlikely herald in the venue of the jail, but telling others about Jesus is part of God’s plan for us. All who hear will be “amazed!”
Are we following the example of the shepherds in telling people about Jesus?