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.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing Him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.Luke 2:15-20
Well if that wasn’t enough to inspire the shepherds to go and see, nothing would. The song or the angel concert might kick start some of us to get moving. But these shepherds had an angelic visitation of their own with the message and then a sign given to them of what to look for. One imagines that after the song they looked at one another and said “What are we waiting for? Let’s go and check it out to see if it is for real.” Notice they say “this thing which the Lord told us about”. Meaning in His Word, via the Rabbi, via the prophets, or via the angel just now? It is all the same message and as Hebrew shepherds, they know the stories of the promised Messiah. These shepherds found the scene in Bethlehem to be exactly as the angel described it. There was indeed a baby lying in a feed trough. This little baby was the promised Messiah. They were so excited about it all that they couldn’t keep the news to themselves. They were astonished at what they found and their astonishment proved contagious. Their excitement in telling what they had seen and heard was caught by others and soon the news spread around far and wide. They told everyone they met their news and then they went back to their flocks praising God for what they had heard and seen. You can bet that they told everyone about the angels they had encountered. But not only the angelic encounter but surely about having been among the first humans to lay eyes on Messiah. We don’t know exactly how many shepherds there were; the text doesn’t tell us the number. But whatever the number of them, they were highly influential. They spread out and told everyone they met. They were truly amazed and they shared their amazement.
When was the last time you were amazed and you couldn’t keep it to yourself? I trust you have been stunned and amazed before by something. Something; anything. But even more so, something related to the things of God and things spiritual. Think back and ponder that time. Are you still amazed or has life taken the edge off your amazement?
I am sure the shepherds not only told the on-lookers but they told Mary and Joseph their story too. Notice the contrast between the shepherds and Mary. The shepherds can’t keep it to themselves but Mary keeps her reaction within. That is not to say Mary was not amazed as such but she had had longer to contemplate the events unfolding. This encounter with the shepherds is yet another layer of confirmation to her that indeed she is the mother of Messiah. She must have been storing up all of the evidence, not just this event with the shepherds. She has a lot to ponder. Not only is her reaction an excited reaction for the moment, one of awe and amazement. With Mary it seems runs deeper than that. The text appears to infer that Mary’s awe is longer term. No mere momentary excitement for a season but a deep seated awe on which to ponder.
Have you had those moments too? We have all experienced the emotional reaction to something which when the event has passed fades in to background. What about those moments that have been life changing for you. Which after it happened you remain changed forever. Something that was life changing and the impact remains on you today. Have you had those moments too? I hope so. That was the nature of Mary’s reaction. I am sure too the more others came and told her their stories related to her son she took them all on board. Think about that – all through the gospel – all the happenings surrounding Jesus are likely to remind Mary again and again that her son is Messiah. How amazing is that!
Just as the shepherds returned home praising God, I am sure Mary returned home praising God too. Has your experience of amazement and wonder led to you praising God too? Talk to Him about it. Praise Him now.
The God-life is a great life. He turns an ordinary story into an amazing adventure!Brian Houston
Something amazing will happen in your life when you live in complete obedience to God.Joyce Meyer
The human race crave the experience of awe & wonder. And there is no reality more breathtaking than Jesus Christ.John Piper
Wonder is retained by wise pondering.Ravi Zacharias