If the Wise Men who came from the east and brought the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were “seekers“, than the shepherds who saw Jesus the same day that he was born were “tellers.”
Something awesome happened to these guys (and like with the wise men, we have no idea how many there were) and it wasn’t the appearance of the angels, as awesome as that was. The angel and the choir were just a fancy GPS system sent by God. They were news reporters and direction sensors. They announced that the Messiah had been born that day and gave them directions on how to get there and find him, and the angel choir provided an mp3 of music running through their head as they headed off to find him.
Imagine if you will a Chevy Impala (these are God’s people with entry-level salaries so they’ll drive low-cost GM cars) and the soft, voice of the GPS saying, “Go straight on the south road, 2/3rds of a mile, turn right on Main street, watch for a stable with a baby wrapped in a snuggie.”
A little ridiculous, of course. I hope it makes us aware of the significance of the announcement. These shepherds represent the whole nation of Israel, from the time that Israel became a nation. For centuries, they were looking for the fulfillment of the promise made by God to their ancestor, Abraham. Hundreds of years, hanging on God’s promise, never giving up hope that God would fulfill the promise that the Messiah would come. And now . . . “Da, da, daaaaaa!” He has. And these guys, out in the fields with smelly sheep, in the dark, wanting to fall asleep see this incredible scene and are given this incredible announcement, “The Christ that you’re looking for, well, he’s here. He’s in Bethlehem and you’ll find him in a feeding trough wrapped up in soft cloths.”
You can read about it in Luke’s Gospel, Luke 2:1-20. Pretty awesome stuff; http://www.youversion.com/bible/asv/luke/2/1-10
But . . . the exciting thing that happened was that they found the baby. They found the Messiah. You know, a lot of people are bothered by the fact that Jesus was human too. The Jewish shepherds don’t seem to be bothered a bit by it.
Verse 16 – They hurried off to Bethlehem and found the baby just like the angel told them.
Verse 17 & 18 – They left and told everyone they could and everyone was amazed.
Verse 20 – They returned to the sheep and were glorifying and praising God.
In an earlier post dated November 22, 2009 ( https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/531/ ) we noted the link between passion for Christ and effective evangelism. They didn’t run out and have t-shirts and ball caps made to announce the fact, they were so excited that as they returned to their job, they told people the Good News. We often say Peter preached the first Gospel sermon (Acts 2). Maybe. It depends on how you look at it. I am contending, right now, that the shepherds were the first Gospel preachers. It was to a Jewish audience, and it was more likely, one on one, not a crowd setting. “Get an auditorium, set up the PA system, let’s preach this thing.” No, the first sermon was that the Messiah, the promised Savior had arrived. It was more like evangelism than pulpit preaching, but that’s what preaching is, telling other people about Jesus.
The Wise Men were seekers. The shepherds had been seeking a long time, but now they were tellers, “evangelists.” They were the ones that with excitement and passion began spreading the Good News, “Jesus the Christ has been born.”