Hi everyone, it’s Mick here and welcome to Monday’s Podcast in this Christmas week. We hope you enjoyed last week’s reflections on the Christmas story in Luke’s gospel – thank you to Jack, Luke, Ruth and Abbey for your first ever Podcast reflections, you were amazing! Reflections from me today and tomorrow before we break for the holiday. Today’s Bible passage is Luke 2: 8-20 – the completion of the Christmas story. You can hear it at the end of the prayer but three amazing verses to focus on now – the Angel’s words to those wonderful shepherds in vv10-12:
Luke 2:8-12 NIV
…the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” …
God is faithful – we hear that said in church often, but what does it actually mean? St Paul writes these words to the church is Corinth: ‘God is forever faithful and can be trusted…’ (1Cor1:9). He goes on to say ‘God will be faithful to you’ (1Cor10:13). The word ‘faithful’ here means ‘trusted’ or ‘to be believed’. The Bible makes it clear that God is faithful!
At the heart of today’s well known Bible passage is God’s faithfulness. All the characters in the Christmas story show incredible faithfulness in the God who is faithful to them. Today we can learn so much from them on how we can live faithful lives as we follow Jesus in these hectic,challenging and often confusing times we live in.
Mary is faithful to Gods promise
She must have been bewildered and confused by what was going on but she believed the angel’s message – she was faithful to God’s promise.
Joseph is faithful to God’s call
This was a tough time for Joseph and he must have been tempted to walk away from the whole confusing situation. In fact Matthew’s account of this story says he considered divorcing her quietly until an angel of the Lord spoke to him. He was faithful to God’s calling and to be Mary’s husband, no matter what the cost.
The Shepherds were faithful to God’s message
We all know how they left their sheep – ordinarily, shepherds never left their sheep! – and found Jesus in the animal feeding trough as the angel said. Their lives were turned upside down and we are told ‘they spread the word concerning what had been told them’ (v.17).
This Bible passage is probably one of the most famous and well read of all Bible passages; because of this we can miss the whole point of the story. It’s this – God is faithful! The promises made to Mary, Joseph and the shepherds all took place ‘just as they had been told’ (v.20). Yet God’s faithfulness to them was part of something even greater which affects all our lives today.
The truth is this; God’s faithfulness and love are the bedrock on which all our lives are built. In fact, over the years of following Jesus I have become more and more convinced that everything is built on this foundational truth that God is faithful. Remember, the angel says this event is ‘good news that will cause great joy for all the people’ (v.10). I love “The Passion Translation” Bible which says this: ‘For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard!’
We see a wonderful invitation to us today in these verses …
Because of Jesus we no longer need to let chaos and despair shape our lives because we can know peace with God and people; do you need to know the peace of Jesus today in your life? – it’s yours, just ask, believe and receive!
Because of Jesus we no longer need to let sadness and disappointment shape our future because we can know God’s joy; do you need to know the joy of Jesus today in your life? – it’s yours, just ask, believe and receive!
Because of Jesus we know longer need to carry the burdens of anxiety, despair and fear because we can know hope; do you need to know the hope of Jesus today? – it’s yours, just ask, believe and receive!
In knowing Christ, we can know God himself. Tricia and I have seen this truth realised over many years of following Jesus; lives change because God is faithful and nothing is impossible, no, nothing is impossible with God – because this Christmas story shows us that God is faithful! As Christians we have been entrusted with this amazing message about Jesus and we, by the faithful lives we lead and the gracious words we speak are to pass on this life changing message.
I will leave the last word with those amazing shepherds. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed. (MSG)
Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness to me in Jesus. Thank you that you give me hope, joy, love and purpose. Help me to be faithful to you in my life and do all I can to share this Christmas good news. Amen
BIBLE READING: Luke 2:8-20
And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.