come and see Luke2
Title: Did you hear and did you see
Text: Luke 2:8-20
Introduction: During this festive time of year, there are always stories of tragedy and despair. On last Monday, I was alarmed to hear the story of two teenage brothers in East Elmhurst while having fun skateboarding heard strange sound from a dumpster. Following faint cry, they discovered it was coming from a paper bag and in the bag they discovered a new born baby only hours old. These young men responded quickly to get this infant child help. To God be the glory, the unnamed baby lives on this day because two young men heard and saw the baby and responded. But that was not only point of the story that gave me joy. What gladden my heart the most was the expression on the boys face when they were asked what happened. Because of this encounter with a baby that these boys heard and saw, their lives will be changed forever. However, this is not the first story about people who encountered a baby found in an unlikely place that from the event there lives were changed forever. This is what our story is about today. A couple of people who heard and saw a baby in an unlikely place and their lives were never the same.
Our story opens up in the evening in a field near where Jesus was just born. In this field there are shepherds and according to the text, were abiding there watching over their flock of sheep in the night. This may sound like a usual evening for someone who has this occupation but on this particular night something is about to happen that is going to change the world. As the story unfolds, it is important for us the focus on the main characters of the narrative, the shepherds. The shepherds at first glance seem to have a noble job. They lived out in the field with their sheep for care and protection. They watched over lambs that were primarily use for temple sacrifices. It was a job with a high level of hard work, commitment and patience. One would think this occupation would be held in high regard because of its connection to the temple and its arduous responsibility. But this was far from the truth. Shepherds were considered the outcast of that day. They were the low class marginal poor people in the Jewish culture. They did not live in houses but lived in tents. Their occupation kept them from temple worship because they were considered to be ceremonial unclean though supplying the sacrificial lambs. People just did not think much of them. My brothers and my sisters, many of us can identify with these shepherds. You have been considered an outcast. You may not have the financial status that people notice. You have not lived in a place that the world would honor. But you live a humble life and you are responsible for some thing other than yourself. My Beloved, God has not forgotten about you. People may try to keep you out in the fields but you just may be the place where God shows up in your life. I think there might be one or two shepherds in the house. The shepherds in our text are watching in the night. Some of us also know about watching in the night. It may be daytime for others but you have been in a night season. You have been up attentive because you have circumstances that could be detrimental to your lifestyle. The shepherds had to watch because the wolves may attack in the night. They had to protect the sheep as well as themselves because the apparent danger. My beloved, you not only have to deal with the stigmas against you but you have to deal with potential problems that are unseen. This Christmas, you may be dealing with what these shepherds have dealt with. You are out in the field disconnected from main stream society. You’re in financial despair because you don’t have lucrative job and church folk look down on you because what you do. But don’t be dismayed. God is going to speak while you are in your current situation with the good news of Jesus. Look at verse 9. The angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds and the glory of God surrounded them and the shepherds were afraid. He could have come to high priest or the rich. But he chose the poor and lowly shepherds. God will show his glory to the humble. Proud people don’t have time for God in their life. We all need to check ourselves if you have not seen God glory. These shepherds just a minute ago surrounded by the stench of sheep dung are now being consumer by the glory of God. This tells me that God can change the atmosphere of our surroundings instantly if we have the right spirit. But when this happened the shepherds were afraid because they believe that if anyone sees God they may die. But angel disarms them by saying in verses 10-11, “Fear not, look I got some good news of great joy for the entire world. For on this day in the city of David the Savior is born, the Christ the Messiah”. This is the message of joy that we all should celebrate today. Everybody deserves some good news. Remember, this good news was not just for the important people. Jesus comes for the oppressed, the downtrodden, the sick and the lonely. That is why we celebrate Christmas. Not just for what we give and receive to each other but for the hope and joy of Jesus coming into our lives. Amen.
But one thing I love about God is the fact that when He tells me something He always backs it up. Look at how he backs up the announcement of Jesus’ coming. He was going to give the shepherds a sign. Now not only did they hear about Jesus’ coming they are now going to see it from themselves because God is going to show them. I am glad we serve a God who not only tells you your blessing but He shows you. He always gives you a sign. He will show you a sign for way out. He will show you a sign for the right way to go. He will show you a sign on who to trust. The Lord gave the shepherds a sign that the Holy child will be wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. And to further confirm the coming of the Savior and the sign which was given, the Lord used heaven itself as a back up singers to the promise in v. 13. A multitude of heavenly host broke out in praise saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Heaven declared Jesus’ coming. Now here is the point where we enter our message for today. Jesus announcement calls for a response. Let’s look at the responses of the shepherds.
First Response: Go and see
After the angelic host left, the shepherds said to one another, “let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that the Lord made known to us. Don’t be alarm when you hear the word “thing” as it is referred in the text. In English, we loose the true meaning of the word. The word “thing” in the text is rhema which means a spoken living voice. In other words, God’s rhema came into existence. The text says in verse 16a that the shepherds made haste meaning they hurried or ran to see Jesus in response to the rhema of God. This is our first point. We have to go and see Jesus. The shepherds dropped everything they were doing to see the Savior. They left their lambs to behold the Lamb of God. This tells us that when God gives us a revelation of where we can find Him, we have to stop everything we are doing and run to him. But our problem is that we are lackadaisical in our pursuit of the Lord. We rush to work but take our time to get to church. We are in hurry to do our shopping but we won’t hurry to spend time with God. I don’t know about you, but I am going run to see my King when God gives me a revelation! I am in a hurry for some help. The shepherds made haste and saw baby Jesus lying in a manger. This leads to our next point.
Second Response: Go and tell
After the shepherds saw baby Jesus the text says that they made known or spread the word about the Child. The shepherd became evangelist. They spread the news that Isaiah prophesied, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” This was the message of hope for the world. My beloved, this Christmas is to remind us that since we saw Jesus we have to go and tell it. He has been so good to you that you have to go and tell somebody about his goodness. We have to spread the good news to a dying world. Yeah, it is good to give but the good news is that Jesus is the real gift this season. So run and tell that. But here again is problem we have as believers in Christ. We can tell people everything else but the good news of Jesus Christ. One problem is that we don’t know what His word says. It is not good enough to quote what the preacher says. You have to know the word for yourself because the preacher may not be around and you may not be near a Bible. The next problem is that we go and gossip instead of edifying one. We talk too much about the wrong thing. If we don’t have anything good to say we should not say anything at all. We have to spread the good news about Jesus. I say all of this to tell you that there are benefits of spreading the gospel. Look at verse 18. The text says that all who heard the good news were wondered or amazed at what was told to them. You can’t but help get amazed when you heard about Jesus. People will be amazed about what Jesus can do. They will be amazed by his power, amazed by his love, amazed by his goodness. And especially His grace. He has amazing grace and it is a sweet sound. It saved a wretched like me. But not only the good news of His coming creates amazement but also it should cause us to do some personal reflection. Verse 19 says that Mary kept all the things that were said about her son and she pondered in her heart. In other words, she preserved what was said and put it all together. Mary knew the weight of having such son and the pain it would bring. You have to process the things about Jesus at times because it can be overwhelming because of the magnitude of the weight. The world doesn’t understand it nor likes it but you need to preserve the promises and bring it all together for strength to stand on in the time of need. That is another reason why we have to go and tell the gospel news. People will be amazed by it but they also need to gain strength from it.
Third Response: Go with worship and praise!
In verse 20, we see something different in the shepherds. They started off on watch in the night now after encounter with Jesus, they are in the light. The text says that they went home glorifying and praising for what they heard and seen. They magnified the Lord and sung songs of praise. They had new life because they saw the King. They left one way but they came back another way. When you meet Jesus you never live the same way again. Let us check the record. The demoniac met Jesus and was the clothed in his right mind. The woman with the issue of blood met Jesus and was made whole. When you, my brother and my sister met Jesus you were saved and delivered. That should be enough to do what the shepherds did. They went home glorifying and praising God!
Close: That is what happens when you have heard the good news and you seen it happen for yourself. That just prompts you to respond by proclaiming what you heard and what you seen.
My beloved from what I heard and from what I have seen, I got tell somebody about Jesus because of how I feel. He makes me feel like I could make it so I got tell somebody He is a way maker. He makes me feel better so I got tell somebody that Jesus is a healer. He makes feel stronger so got tell somebody He is my daily bread! I have to tell it like I feel it. I heard it! I saw it but I have to tell like I feel it!