Friday, April 17, 2015

Jesus' Birth Announcement: Poor Timing, Insignificant Audience, Odd Location and Over-the-Top Emcee

That night [when Jesus was born] there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guiding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Saviour – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger
(Luke 2:8-12,

Generally, the importance of an announcement is judged by the audience to which it is made. Today, significant proclamations call for a televised press conference with a written press release. (If God ask me first, I would ‘advise’ Him, ehemmm… to proclaimed good news during sunny day at the busy marketplace, choose rather noble and honourable audiences such as the Pharisees and Sadducees, send written news to every town in Israel before the actual event start and at least let Jesus born in a luxury 5-stars hotel. And spotlight from heaven… But… God doesn’t ask for my ambitious advice… He don’t need one!). See, God broke every rule of effective media management at the birth of his Son: He chose poor timing (the middle of the night), an insignificant audience (shepherds), an odd location (hillside pasture), and an over-the-top spokes-angel. Those inexplicable contrasts give Jesus’ birth announcement a distinct ring of truth.

Happily, the angel’s announcement included a note of “Don’t be afraid!” that applies far beyond the immediate circumstance and flows from the fact that the Saviour’s birth will “bring great joy to all people” – including us! As if unable to restrain themselves over the good news, the angelic choir breaks out with a song of confirmation and the hopeful word that the impact of the news – “The Saviour, the Messiah, the Lord… has been born today” – will be “glory to God” and “peace” to people as a result of God’s favour. Furthermore, the shepherds, untroubled by their low social status, set their feet in motion. And having received the truth they had been told by acting on it themselves, they then told others and they joyfully thanked God.

Shepherds were at the bottom of their societal structure. They knew their unworthiness as recipients of the news and its meaning. They simply accepted the fact that they now had a Saviour, the Lord. We, therefore, must place ourselves in their sandals when we realize we are equally unworthy, and yet God has offered to us the same good news of a Saviour, Jesus Christ.

After seeing [baby Jesus], the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child” (Luke 2:17). Think about this: The gospel writer, Luke, tells us that those who heard the news second-hand from the shepherds “were amazed” (Luke 2:18). This response may or may not have been belief that lead to faith. It doesn’t matter. The crucial lesson for us is not the effect but in the effort. What I mean is, it is not our responsible to convert people (effect), only God can and able to do that. But it is our joyful-responsibility to tell others about Christ (effort). Share the good news!

How often do you simply and joyfully let others know
what you found when you acted on the news about Christ?
See again the shepherds respond when they heard and seen Jesus first-hand.

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