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The Irony in the Christmas Story - Part 2
Text: Luke Ch. 2:1-20/ Matt. 2:1-12
Last week we started by looking at the first Irony in the Christmas story which was: “There was no room at the Inn.”
Let’s consider the 2nd irony in our Christmas Story. The second irony in our Christmas Story – is the fact that God entrusted the greatest news ever told to men whose testimony wasn’t considered trustworthy in a Court of Law What is so right, in what seems so out of place?
Luke 2:8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger."13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased." 15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." ...17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished,
After 400 years of prophetic silence – it’s ironic -- that the first group of people to hear a message from God were lowly shepherds.
Why would God share the Story of the Greatest News ever told to Shepherds? Shepherds were considered to be on the lowest rung of the economic, social, and spiritual ladder.
- ...they were generally uneducated and illiterate
- ...their job was very demanding
- ...they spent days and nights in the fields with the sheep
- ...they were viewed as social outcasts/ considered to be liars/ of ill repute/untrustworthy
- ...they had very few social graces
- ...they were the original rednecks of Israel
- ...their job required them to work 7 days a week
- ...they seldom went to the synagogue or temple to worship or learn...therefore, they were considered beyond redemption/ they weren’t good enough for God
- ...and their testimony was not considered to be credible in a court of law.
- ...THEIR TESTIMONY was considered = UNBELIEVABLE.
Notice the message – Fear not. I bring you good news of great joy...today the Messiah was born in Bethlehem.
Fear Not [the News is saying] The Messiah didn’t come to condemn you; He came to give you hope and to save you.
This is a Great Moment of Joy, Peace, & Grace on Earth.
Then, suddenly, an Angelic Choir interrupted the night with songs of praise, reminding the Shepherds of the glory and blessings of God.
Notice -- The implication for the Shepherds.
- God is giving the Good News...to you.
- This News needs to be told to everyone everywhere.
- You are Plan A...there is no Plan B.
- God is telling you where to find the Messiah
- Now, it’s up to you to = retell the story to others = to show them how they can find the Messiah.
Notice – the response of the Shepherds.
- They were amazed.
- They came with haste and found Christ just like the angels said.
- They went abroad and told the story to everyone, everywhere they went.
- And then, The Shepherds returned/ they returned from telling the story, glorifying and praising God for what they had seen and heard.
It is ironic – that God entrusted the Greatest News ever told...to people with ISSUES. God expected them to SHARE THE GOOD NEWS, even if other people didn’t believe them.
What are some of the lessons we can learn from the irony of Good News Shepherds?
What is so right...in what seems so out of place?
- The Good News need to be heard...even if people don’t like the Newspaper Boy.
- God has entrusted the Greatest Story to be told...to people with issues. Just because you have issues shouldn’t stop you from telling the story.
- It doesn’t matter what society thinks about you. All that matters is that you found the King...and you told someone else where to find Him.
- God doesn’t hold us responsible for how other people respond to the Story. God holds us responsible to share the Story with those who haven’t heard.
- It is up to us to tell the story. It’s up to them to receive it.
Here is the danger of being the Story-Teller. The bible says, the Shepherds returned [to keeping their sheep]...
- yes...they were excited, pumped, and joyous over what they had seen and heard.
- yes...they initially retold the story many times
- yes...they met Christ and told others where to find Him.
But...somewhere, somehow, for one reason or another... THEY RETURNED TO THEIR OLD LIVES.
If we are not careful, the Danger is = once the initial excitement wears off...
- we stop re-telling the Story of how we met Jesus
- we stop re-telling others about where to find the King.
- we lose our excitement over Jesus.
Re-telling the Story is what keeps the Story alive in our hearts. The Amazing thing is God entrusts us people with issues...a past...broken...guilty... dysfunctional... untrustworthy...with the Good News.
And, the sad thing...is WE RETURN to our old lives.
- we allow the new to wear off
- The CALLING OF THE LAMBS becomes louder than THE CALLING OF THE KING...
- and, we return to living ordinary lives/ while holding distant memories of the night we met the Lord.
What is our take-away today?
The Christmas story isn’t about perfect people in a perfect world. This is not a Hallmark Christmas Story. It’s about a young couple who found out that obedience to God is costly. What God wants to do through your life is seldom easy.
It’s about the tragedy of people who get so bogged down in life that they lose sight of a coming king.
It is about the fact that God has picked unlikely people -problems and all - to tell the story of where we met Jesus.
And, it is a reminder for us not to stop retelling the Story of how others can find the King.
THIS is what Christmas is about for us. Not just celebrating the birth of Jesus, but the telling of the story to others. A reminder to the lost of what Christmas is truly about and where they can get the free gift of eternal life.
Merry Christmas to you all.