Although I do love each element of the Christmas narrative, if I were to pick out one piece that stands out the most to me these days, it would be the account of the angel of the Lord appearing to the shepherds. Please take a moment to read and meditate on it. It is found in…
Luke 2:8-20 “That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding 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 Savior—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.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” 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.” (NLT)
It should not be a surprise that, as an evangelist, I would be drawn to the event where the participants all take part in sharing the good news—the very definition of evangelism. First, you have the angel of the Lord, later joined by many other angels, sharing with the shepherds. Then you have the shepherds themselves going around and sharing the good news with others after witnessing the promised Messiah in the manger with their own eyes.
One of the things that I often emphasize when teaching about evangelism, is that every Christian is expected to actively participate—not just the experts or extroverts. This passage is proof of this because even though it starts with an expert, an angel was literally “a messenger” after all; it ends with simple shepherds sharing the good news with anyone who would listen.
A lot of Christians tend to over complicate things and become reluctant to share the gospel because they feel like they lack biblical knowledge or fear rejection. The reality is, much like with these shepherds, evangelism is simply sharing the good news that you have witnessed firsthand. You do not have to take a theology course before telling your personal testimony to others and you do not have to fear rejection. Our job as Christians is simply to proclaim the good news about Jesus. Success does not depend on the response of those we are proclaiming it to.
Another thing to note is that the shepherds weren’t sitting in the temple praying when this happened; they were in the middle of a shift at work. Not only does God call common people to evangelize, but He also calls us to do it in the midst of our everyday lives. God wants to use who we are to share His good news where we are.
Another example is when Jesus revealed Himself to the woman at the well in John 4. She subsequently left her jar to go and tell everyone about this man who knew everything about her. One minute she was so focused on her sin and shame that she was getting water during the heat of the day to avoid running into others and the next she was actually running toward those she had wanted to avoid because her focus had shifted onto the possibility of Jesus being the Messiah.
This Christmas my prayer is that each of us, like the shepherds, would become so excited about what we have witnessed Christ do in us and through us that we would be willing to share the good news of the gospel with others, and without hesitation!
Read through the Christmas narrative found primarily in Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2, and John 1.
Share which person or event stands out to you the most and why.
Ask God to give you the name of one person you can pray for and share Christ with this week. Let us know so that we can be praying for them and for you—that the Holy Spirit would prepare his/her ears to hear and prompt you when an opportune time arises.
* This is meant to be an interactive blog so please share some of your responses with us.