God is in the details-Shepherds and Wise Men. As we continue our journey through that first Christmas, we looked at the essence of Christmas through the nativity scene. Angels praising God for His precious Son, Jesus fills the dark night sky with wonder and amazement.
Gabriel’s announcement to Mary, who is favored in God’s eyes, that she will be a mother to the Messiah. Joseph who struggles with finding out Mary, his betrothed is pregnant. In a dream, an angel instructs Joseph to take Mary as his wife.
Shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night….
The simplicity of the Christmas story is beautiful. In that day, shepherds are not highly esteemed. They spent their days and nights with sheep. So for the sky to be filed with angels is surprising for them and terrifying. The Jews had been waiting for their Messiah. It is worth noting, that their credibility about religious issues from shepherds would not compare to the super-religious Pharisees or the upper-class Sadducee. God sees things differently and chooses to to deliver the greatest announcement of all-time to a group of rag-tag herdsmen.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around about them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David (Bethlehem) a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11
How excited they must have been to have such Good News to tell. Did they understand the magnitude of this birth? Probably not but they set out to find this new born baby.
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15
Let’s look at the message from the angel…..
The reality in the message that the angel told is in the phrase “all people.” Jesus came to earth for all people. He came to bring salvation to everyone regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, backgrounds or past failures. God’s reconciliation extends to everyone.
Wise Men still seek Him….
The Bible doesn’t tell us much about the Wise Men but God used them for His glory. They are astrologers and Gentiles. They viewed the phenomenon of stars at the time of Jesus birth. When they came to Jerusalem they asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2 They probably are traveling from Persia or Babylon. Their journey could have taken up to two years to reach Jesus because they came to the house ( Matthew 2:11) not the stable.
They set out to find out if the prophecy is true. God sent them a sign-the star. Sometimes we want God to send us a sign but are we really looking for Him? They earnestly began looking for the child. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder to those who diligently seek Him.” It is hard to step out of our comfort zone to seek God. They made a commitment and traveled a great distance to find Jesus.
The Wise Men didn’t come empty handed but they brought gifts to honor Jesus. One of the gifts is gold. a gift for royalty. Next, frankincense is a costly fragrance signifying deity. Lastly, myrrh a spice used to anoint a body for burial. One day the King of Kings would lay down His life for all people.
God speaks to the Wise Men in a dream instructing them to travel a different way home to thwart the plan of King Herod to kill Jesus. After the Wise Men returned to their homeland, God spoke to Joseph through an angel. The angel told Joseph to take his family and go to Egypt to escape Herod. Historians tell us that Mary and Joseph possibly may have sold the gifts brought by the Wise Men to pay for the trip. God always provides for those He loves.
Take away message….
- The Good News that the angel brought is still applicable today..
- God wants us to diligently seek Him just like the shepherds and Wise Men.
- God knows the significance of your gifts and will use them if you give them to Him.
- Let us all be obedient to Christ.