Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key verse: Luke 2:10-11 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2:8-18 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
1. The shepherds were not expecting this arrival (vs 9a)
– Why these shepherds? Some believe the shepherds were watching the sheep that would be used for the sacrifices at the Temple (Mishna)
– This was their daily routine of watching, protecting the animals from all dangers to ensure they were able to fulfill their destiny
– The angel changed their routine, and changed their destiny
2. Fear was the first response (vs 9b)
– no one can blame the shepherds for their response, this wasn’t a normal occurrence in the hills of Bethlehem
– this was a disruption of what was normal which causes fear in most people
3. Alleviating fear requires listening (vss 10-14)
– the implication is that the shepherds clearly listened to the Angel’s pronouncement
– in our daily journeys, we too often fail to listen to the message because we are gripped in fear over the disruption
– Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
4. When fear vanishes, peace arrives (vss 15-16)
– as the shepherds listened to the angel, immediately their fear was replaced by wonder and amazement…because God’s power and glory was revealed
– what a great lesson for all of us!
5. When peace arrives, there’s a story to tell (vss 17-18)
– “the saying” – meaning this was the messiah
– “GOOD TIDINGS” (evangelizō) which means to preach the good news, the Gospel
– vs 11 – For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord
– about 700 years before Jesus was born, this messianic prophecy was given
Micah 5:2-5 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” 3Therefore He shall give them up, Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel. 4 And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth; 5 And this One shall be peace.
– and so they couldn’t help but go, and tell
The point of Christmas is that Christ came to cover our sins, to alleviate our fear, to fill us with peace and to send us to tell the world.