Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. Luke 2:17
Credibility. Attorneys want it from their witnesses. Marketers need it from their spokespeople. We expect it from the people we consult with. We wouldn’t follow an exercise routine developed by someone out of shape. We wouldn’t take medical advice from someone who was clearly ill. We wouldn’t hire a roofer whose own home had damage from persistent leaks.
In first-century Israel, shepherds were social outcasts. In fact, as a class, their reputation for dishonesty and their lack of integrity was so widely known that their testimony was not admissible in court.
So why on earth did God entrust this most momentous message to a bunch of guys who were known to be untrustworthy?
Perhaps it was so that the hearers were moved by the message itself and not by the credibility of the messenger. Maybe their response gives some clues.
They immediately acted on the information the angels gave them.
Verse 16 says they “made haste”. They hurried. They ran to find the manger with the baby.
They told everyone they came in contact with.
Verse 17 says they spread the word.
They glorified and praised God for the whole experience.
Verse 20 says they went back to their regular jobs but profoundly impacted.
And the shepherds just got the birth message. We have the entire redemption story to tell. Maybe we can learn from the shepherds’ example.
Does the reality that God entrusted His message of salvation to us prompt us to action? Do we tell everyone we come in contact with? Are our daily lives changed because of the experience?
You know, the birth of Jesus happened just like the angels said, but here’s what else the angels said. The whole reason His name is Jesus is that He came to save us from our sins. God is just. He has to punish sins. Because He is so holy, our sins are unbelievably offensive. I can either try to make up for them myself and fall short or I can accept the death Jesus died on the cross as the punishment. Really, that was a no-brainer. I’m not perfect, but I have never been the same since.
Now’s a good day to start.
Next week: The Wise Men