Day 6: Spread the News!
So they [the shepherds] hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The shepherds had just received an angelic visit and made haste to verify with sight what their ears had heard!
God came to the lowly. The Good News extended first to the down and out shepherds, the lowest of the Jews. I love that about God. He turns all of man’s thinking upside down. I am confident that if you had asked the Jews of that day who would be the first to hear this great proclamation about the birth of the Savior, the answer you received would not have been “shepherds” … “the Pharisees” would have been the response most given!
In verse 17 the word translated “seen” is the Greek word eido meaning “to perceive with the outward senses, particularly with physical sight, to perceive with the mind, to understand” (The Complete Word Study New Testament). Isn’t that great? God tells them. God shows them. What a confirmation and, as a result, what a transformation! It reminds me of Job. After all his struggles he says to the Lord:
“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6)
When one hears and understands such Good News, one acts! That’s exactly what the shepherds did! They made known, they declared, they revealed the Word given to them! They were the first messengers to proclaim the arrival of the Messiah. And all who heard were amazed and filled with wonder! Scripture tells us that Mary kept all these things carefully in her heart–protected, safe and close. Don’t you know she replayed the message from the angels to the shepherds over and over in her mind?
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)
When the shepherds return to their flocks, they sing to God for all they have heard and seen–“just as they had been told.” What God says, that He will most assuredly do. He never changes:
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:16-17)
“I the LORD do not change.” (Malachi 3:6)
Take It to Heart
We should not expect God to use the methods of this world to convey His messages.
“I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need.” (Spurgeon)