December 26, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
It’s the day after Christmas! I hope the celebration of this holiday was a blessing to you, and the hecticness of it all was not too overwhelming! Did you find Jesus Christ in your Christmas? Have you found Him in your life? The shepherds did! Let’s look at what happened, from Luke 2:15 through 20:
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.” And
they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a
manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the say-
ing which was told them concerning this Child. And those who heard it
marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds….Then the
shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they
had heard and seen, as it was told them.
I have always wondered if the scripture record of what the angel said was the abbreviated version! I mean, did the shepherds find the Christ Child easily or was it a struggle to locate Him? Remember, in Luke 2:11 and 12, the recorded directions were, “…in the city of David….You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
First of all, which city of David was it? In II Samuel 5:7 – and many other places – Jerusalem is called “…the city of David….” But the Babe in verses 12 and 16 is referred to as “…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11). So the shepherds, who were quite well-versed in the Jewish scriptures, would have known where the Messiah would be born. They would have been familiar with Micah 5:2:
But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, 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 have been from of old, from everlasting.
So they knew it was the town nearby, and not Jerusalem about six miles to the north.
Second, the angel’s directions said the “…Babe…[would be] lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12). How many mangers were there in Bethlehem? Dr. Charles Stanley tells us, “At the time, Bethlehem’s population was between five and six hundred people.” That might have been a hundred to two hundred homes! And many homes had a manger, since they kept animals in-house on the lower level. The family occupied the upper level of the dwelling. We know that in Luke 2:7 it says Mary “…brought forth her firstborn Son…and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” But an inn was not mentioned in the angel’s directions to the shepherds! So did they search all the stables and homes to find the Babe?
We also know that according to the record in Matthew 2:2, 9 and 10, the wise men were led by the star they had “…seen in the East….” And it was a very specific leading, because it says in verse 9, “…the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.” Could not God have led the shepherds to the Christ Child in such a specific manner?
This adventure by the shepherds was a physical searching, leading and finding. But spiritually, how does one find Jesus Christ today? Jeremiah 29:13 and 14 tells us, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord.” And Paul wrote in Romans 10:6 through 9 and 13 (quoting Deuteronomy 30:12 through 14, and Joel 2:32):
“Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring
Christ down from above) or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to
bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you,
even in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith, which we
preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in
your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved….For
“whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Jesus Christ is as close as the air we breath! And just like when we breath in air, He wants to be in us! If we open our hearts to Him – if we answer His knock on our heart’s door – He plainly says, “…I will come in….” (Revelation 3:20). And when He comes into a heart and life, He cleans that life up, washing away ALL our sins by His own blood! (see I John 1:7). And He brings us eternal life and the opportunity to live an abundant life – instead of the wasted life too many experience! (see John 5:24; 10:10; and Galatians 5:22 and 23).
The Shepherds Found Him! Have you?