“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
Today's Reading: Luke 2:15-18
Devo Author: Jimmy Cook
Date: December 21, 2022
There is something acutely memorable about the events surrounding a birth. When my eldest was born, I can recall exactly who came to visit. Three friends from seminary arrived at the hospital thinking my wife would still be in labor, but things went so fast I answered the door holding a baby that hadn’t even been dried off yet! They were surprised and overjoyed.
In this short section of Luke's gospel, we see the first visitors after the birth of Jesus. Luke is the gospel writer who highlights people on the margins of society. He has little time for the powerful and well-positioned but provides ample space in his gospel to tell the stories of the overlooked, the weak, the outcast, and the poor. Even in these opening chapters, Luke highlights the accounts of people many in the first century would have overlooked.
In the first chapter of Luke, we see the faith of Mary and Elizabeth in contrast to the lack of confidence displayed by Zechariah. Though chapter two begins by mentioning kings and governors, they are not the recipients of the most important announcement in history. We might be surprised to find the birth announcement of the Savior of the world is directed to poor shepherds. These shepherds would have been viewed as unclean, according to the standards of Jewish law. They are representative of the humble, whom Mary asks God to exalt in her prayer (Luke 1:52
). These shepherds were the first to hear the announcement of God’s Messiah.
Imagine the scene, shepherds taking shifts keeping watch over their flocks, and suddenly the sky is filled with light and song and echoes with unexpected news. And they respond not with doubt, not with confusion but with faith and obedience and inquisitiveness. “Let us go and see…” (Luke 2:15, paraphrased).
How do we imagine ourselves in the great story of God’s deliverance from the oppression of sin and death? When we have heard this announcement from God, how have we responded? We may know the story of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. We may be familiar with all the ins and outs of Luke's gospel account. We may understand the announcement. And yet, we may lack the simple trust in God that is demanded by this good news. We may not have any desire to see in our lives the things God has promised.
As we contemplate these poor shepherds, whose hearts were ignited with the promise of God, let us not allow the familiarity to dull our hearts. Let us move toward God’s announcement of a Savior with faith and obedience and a desire to see what He has promised.