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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


5. The Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-20)

LUKE 2:15-20
15 It happened, when the angels went away from them into the sky, that the shepherds said one to another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 They came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feeding trough. 17 When they saw it, they publicized widely the saying which was spoken to them about this child. 18 All who heard it wondered at the things which were spoken to them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told them.

When the waves of the dark night surrounded the nomads again, darkness did not enter their hearts, for the word of God let in the light of hope. They saw the glories of heaven and heard the good tidings of salvation from the angels.

The shepherds jumped up and ran quickly. They probably stumbled in the dark, but continued their way toward Bethlehem, searching until they found Jesus. There they saw nothing but a lowly manger, ordinary wrappings, a babe in a stable with animals, a simple woman, and a poor man. They saw no angels, no glory, and no indication of divinity. However, they caught the smell of sheep, which was familiar to them.

Then they fell on their knees in submission, knowing that God has come to the world, and particularly to them, simple, despised shepherds. They were among the first to see the babe who changed the world. Yet, they were not slow in believing the words of the angel, but saw the King in the manger and recognized him in spite of the humble surroundings.

Dear brother, did you hear the Lord’s call? Did you realize it completely? Hold it fast. Then you will meet your Lord personally, and find that he is gentle and lowly in heart. He will make you lowly and you will find rest for your soul.

When the shepherds fell on their knees before their Lord in fervent thankfulness, they testified with great joy what they saw in the fields, and all those who heard them were amazed, especially Mary and Joseph who, once again received through this news, a divine confirmation of their obedience of faith. Mary said nothing, but heard, believed, and compared the newly announced names of her Son with those he already had. She kept those treasures of the Holy Spirit in her heart, and may have told Luke of these events, which he alone reported, and thus became the eloquent spokesman of Mary’s reports.

When the shepherds left the stable, they filled the town with their wonderful news. The people were greatly astonished, and considered the story as a fable made up by the shepherds. No one paid attention to the whole story. They had neither interest nor time to visit the stable because of their trade and greed to earn money from the travelers who filled all the houses. Therefore, the Bethlehemites did not run to the manger, nor did they worship the King who was in the midst of them. None of them came to see Christ, neither the mayor, nor the traders, nor the prominent, nor the teachers, nor the boys, nor the mothers. None of them looked for Jesus, because of their involvement in earning money. They served mammon, and consequently remained wandering about in their darkness.

The shepherds turned their backs on these shallow-minded people, and went away glorifying and praising God, back to their place on the hill. They moved back to their flocks, praising God and singing hymns to him. They heard his word and believed it. They saw the Promised One, honored him and bore witness to him. Thus they magnified God and continued in grace.

Dear reader, what is your attitude? Whom do you resemble in this story? Are you still in the night of sin, as the shepherds were before the angel appeared to them? Are you still superficial as the Bethlehemites were on hearing the good tidings of salvation? Did you hear the living word of your Lord, believe it, run to the center of the world, and find Christ living? Then he will fill you with his peace, and send you out to the world so that you may become a witness to his humility. Do you testify to the incarnate love of God among people? Do you magnify the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Did you become a shepherd testifying to the riches of the grace of God? Magnify your heavenly Father by your faith and faithfulness, for there is born to you this day the Savior who is Christ the Lord. Do you believe in him faithfully, thankfully and cheerfully?

PRAYER: We shout with joy and applaud you, our King who is born in a stable. We thank you for reaching down to our lowliness. Please draw us by your Holy Spirit to you and fill us with the thankfulness of your joy, so that we may communicate the current of your power to others, and not love money, but adhere to you faithfully and prayerfully.

QUESTION 26: What is the message brought by the shepherds to the manger and passed on from it to the world?


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