Luke 2:1-20 | Anyone Can Come

Christmas Reactions  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:25
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Last week we looked at a forgotten character in the Christmas story: Simeon.
While he is one that is easily missed in the story of Christ’s birth...
There are few more recognizable characters surrounding the story of the first Christmas than who we are looking at this week.
The shepherds in the story of Christ’s birth are a staple at every nativity scene
ILLUSTRATION: As I kid, I can remember bing in programs where I hadn’t quite reached the level of Shepherd, but I fit great as a sheep.
EXPLANATION: The Shepherds were the first people, outside of the immediately family, to learn of the birth of Jesus.
It’s an extraordinary thing, because the angels could have appeared to anyone.
They could have appeared to royalty.
They could have appeared to the political class
They could have appeared to the priests and the religious crowd who may have had some sway.
But the angels appeared to the shepherds.
The shepherds were the lowest of society.
If you couldn’t do anything else, you would resort yourself to being a shepherd.
Shepherds were looked down upon.
They were considered to be dishonest and unclean according to the standard of the law.
Because of that they weren’t even allowed to be a witness in a trial.
And yet, on this star filled night in Bethlehem, it was to these humble shepherds in a field that the message of Christ’s birth was proclaimed.
What a stunning scene it was.
Just like any other night, they were attending to their job, taking care of the sheep.
They were just punching the clock
It’s interesting that such lowly people would be put over such an important job.
While normally shepherding sheep wouldn’t have been seen as important, these shepherds in Bethlehem didn’t watch over just any sheep.
These sheep had the lambs that were to be used for the ceremonial passover sacrifice.
These were the spotless lambs that carried such great importance to the nation of Isreal.
And they were being cared for by the scum of society… the shepherd.
This night though, their entire lives would change.
v.9, Before them appeared an angel of the Lord.
Luke 2:9 KJV 1900
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
We don’t know which angel it was, maybe it was Gabriel the messenger angel.
I have always pictured this scene with the angel appearing in the sky with the bright light shining around him… and that may have been the case.
But the Bible doesn’t say he was floating in the air… but the glory of the Lord did shine around them so we got that right.
They were just out doing there job when all of the sudden, an angel appears with a bright light shining around him.
The Bible sums it up with “they were sore afraid”
What would you do if you turned your head and all the sudden there was someone with a bright light shinning around them standing in front of you?
v.10-12, He gives the announcement of Christ’s birth for the very first time.
Luke 2:10–12 KJV 1900
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Can you imagine trying to process what is happening?
They are just trying to do their job as social outcasts, when an angel scares them to death, then tells them, “Don’t be afraid”
But what the angel says must have cut to their very core, V.10b-12
They are the scum of society.
They are considered the most dishonest and unclean
They don’t get told good news.
And now they are being told by an angel that he has good news for all people.
What is that news?
That their is a Savior, Christ the Lord, that has just been born.
And to top it off, they could find Him in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
I love this… there are many reasons Jesus was laid in a manger.
It revealed His humility.
The One Who could have been born in a palace chose to be born in a stable, and placed in a manger.
It is more than likely that the manger was made of stone rather than wood as we so often see.
This would have been far more common in that day.
And that stone manger would have given safety and protection to the Baby Christ.
But I think one of the reasons Jesus was laid in a manger was because it was something the Shepherds would have easily recognized.
No doubt, they had spent many a night pillowing their head in the straw of the stable.
They had poured feed into one of these mangers for the animals to eat.
They were very familiar with a manger
And now the God of the universe, and the Savior of the world was being born… but it wasn’t in a palace… it was in a manger.
You know, I think it would have been uncomfortable for the Shepherds to make there way into a place of royalty.
It would have been difficult for them to even find their way into a normal house.
But to enter into a stable to find Jesus in a manger… that was a place that was accessible to even the lowest of society.
ILLUSTRATION: As I was considering what message to preach for this Sunday, considering the different responses of those in the Scriptures, I nearly settled on the reaction of Christ.
I love what Paul wrote about the mind of Christ with regard to His coming in Philippians 2:5-8
Philippians 2:5–8 KJV 1900
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
No reputation, servant, likeness and fashion of man, and He humbled himself!
Not everyone could come into the presence of a king, but anyone could enter into a stable and make their way to a feeding trough.
ILLUSTRATION: In John 4, Jesus told His disciples He had to go through Samaria!
When He got there, He found His way to Jacob’s well.
It was the middle of the day, most had already come to get there water for the day, when a woman came to get some.
There was a reason she came when she did.
She was an outcast… having had multiple husbands
No doubt she came during midday to avoid the stares, points, and whispers of those that would normally see her.
And on this day, she made her way to the well once again, only to find a man there.
She probably circled around to the other side of the well trying to avoid Him, when He spoke to her, “Give me to drink”
You can kind of see her look around wondering who He was talking to and then say John 4:9
John 4:9 KJV 1900
9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
“Why are you talking to me?”
Jesus goes on to tell her: John 4:10
John 4:10 KJV 1900
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
John 4:13–14 KJV 1900
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Before that woman left the well on that day, she had drunk of that living water!
Thank God, Jesus came to the well!
That woman wouldn’t have felt comfortable walking into a palace, but she could make her way to a well at the middle of the day.
ILLUSTRATION: In a few hours the sky would turn to black.
The crowds had gathered around, most of whom were cheering for His death.
And there Jesus hung on a cross.
On the one side hung a thief who mocked him, and would in a few short hours open his eyes in the torment of eternity in hell.
But on the other side was another thief who also mocked Him at first, but at some point something had changed.
Now instead of crying out in mockery, he cries out in dependence… Luke 23:42
Luke 23:42 KJV 1900
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
If it had been any other day, that thief would have died on a cross without hope.
But Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified on that day, so when that thief called out to Him, He would reply, Luke 23:43
Luke 23:43 KJV 1900
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
That thief couldn’t go anywhere… and Christ allowed Himself to be nailed next to him so that he could come to Christ.
APPLICATION: It’s the wonderful truth of Christ and Christmas.
He came in a humble manner that all can come to Him!
It doesn’t matter if you are the lowest outcast of society, like the Shepherds, you can come to Jesus!
It doesn’t matter what you are past may look like, like the woman at the well, you can come to Jesus!
It doesn’t matter how you’ve been labeled, a thief on a cross, you can come to Jesus.
The two most recognizable locations in all of Christ’s life are unquestionably, the manger and the cross.
And while very different, there is one way they were very much the same… they were both easily accessible.
Anyone could go there.
And friend, that hasn’t changed.
You can find your way to the manger today
You can see Christ in His humility coming to the earth as a King in a stable, lying in a manger!
You can find your way to the foot of the cross today!
You can see Him hanging there for your sins and for mine!
Romans 5:8 KJV 1900
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
And He did so that Romans 10:13
Romans 10:13 KJV 1900
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
What is found in the humble manger of Christ!
No matter who you are or what you have done, Jesus makes it so anyone can come to Him and accept the greatest gift ever offered!
The Gift of eternal life, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
EXPLANATION: If the Shepherds night wasn’t already incredible enough, suddenly a multitude of angels appeared and in unison proclaimed, v.14.
Luke 2:14 KJV 1900
14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will toward men.
Then the angels disappeared.
I’m sure at first the Shepherds were left rubbing their eyes, but then finally they begin to discuss what to do with what just happened.
Luke 2:15–16 KJV 1900
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Beth-lehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
They made there way to that stable and there found Baby Jesus just as they had been told.
Can you imagine what must have been going through Mary and Joseph’s mind...
Here are a bunch of strange, outcasts of society coming into the birth room telling Mary and Joseph they had just seen a bunch of angels.
It’s no wonder v.18 says...
Luke 2:18 KJV 1900
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
ILLUSTRATION: If you ever had a baby at a hospital you can probably sympathize with Mary as it seems like everyone wants to coming into the room.
I can remember after Tressa had each one of our kids, all we wanted to do was sleep… I was exhausted.
When we had Jayce we wanted to keep him in the room with us.
The other two we were like, “Can you please take them for a bit so we can sleep.”
But it seemed like every 10 minutes someone came in asking questions.
EXPLANATION: Can you imagine a bunch of strangers just showing up to tell you about how they had seen a bunch of angels!
But when it was all said and done, and the Shepherds left, we find their reaction in v.20, and this is what I want to leave us with today, V.20
Luke 2:20 KJV 1900
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
They went away as the very first NT evangelists proclaiming that the Savior had come.
But think about it… who was going to listen to them.
They were the outcasts
They were the unclean
They were the dishonest
They were the Shepherds
Who is going to listen to their message?
Well, you did this morning.
You know, the truth is, I don’t think they were as concerned with if someone was going to listen as they were just telling their story.
They just wanted to praise and glorify God… And maybe someone along the way would accept what they were telling them.
APPLICATION: Friend, if you know Christ as your Savior, you have experienced the greatest miracle ever offered.
You’ve accepted the greatest gift ever given
When you were a kid you couldn’t wait to tell everyone about the gifts you got at Christmas!
Who have you talked to recently about the greatest gift you’ve ever received?
You may have heard this one before Matthew 28:18-20
Matthew 28:18–20 KJV 1900
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
You don’t have to know all the verses.
You don’t have to have everything memorized…
But you can tell your story!
That’s what the Shepherds did.
And maybe you think no one will listen… but your job isn’t to make them listen.
It’s to tell your story about the Savior!
ILLUSTRATION: It was a snowy winter day in Indiana.
But it wasn’t just another day.
I was sitting in the last class at school just watching the clock.
I knew that here soon, before the bell would ring to end the day, my dad was going to come and pick me up from school
And while that was reason enough for excitement, there was something more.
My aunt had been offered a spot to go to a closed door practice for the Indiana Hoosiers basketball team
No one was allowed into these practices… it was the team only.
She wasn’t much of a basketball person so she asked if my dad, my brother, and I could go in her place… and they agreed.
When the teacher got the call on the school phone I knew what the message would be and sure enough, a few minutes later I was in my dad’s car on the way to Assembly Hall.
We pulled into an empty parking lot and parked right up front.
We walked to the those beautiful doors and reached to walk into my dream come true… to find the door was locked.
That was ok, there were like 20 doors or more so we started making our way through them… each one was locked.
Just as disappointment was creeping in, a door opened, and there was the man who we were supposed to meet and he let us in to the closed door practice.
I can still remember the sound of the door shutting behind us as we entered that sacred place.
On that day, we needed someone else to open the door for us…
We tried every other way to get in… but we needed someone who knew the way to open that door so we could come in too.
APPLICATION: Friend, do you see the Christmas reaction of the Shepherds
Luke 2:20 KJV 1900
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
They found out that anyone can come to the manger, and they couldn’t help but tell everyone about it.
They discovered the answer… and then they told everyone about it.
If you have found that anyone can come to the cross… then it’s time to get busy telling everyone about it!
I wonder who you could open the door for this week?
Maybe you went through the entire 2022 year and never once told someone about Christ...
As we turn the page into 2023, it’d be a good goal to have.
Who will you open the door for.
Anyone can come… but sometimes they just don’t know how.
What a blessing it to be like the Shepherds and declare Who it is we have found!
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