• John Lenschow

The Shepherd's Discovery

The Child is Born

Day 18 Wednesday, December 16th

Luke 2:15-20

1. Recognize the Context:

Previous context:

Chapter 2 begins with the birth of Jesus. Verses 1-5 provide the setting for the birth, and verses 6-7 give the birth account. The story of the shepherds follows this section in verses 8-14. Terrified by their encounter with the angel of the Lord, these shepherds were instructed not to be afraid. The angel announced the good news of the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord. Then suddenly, a company of angels appeared praising and glorifying God.

2. Read the Scripture: Luke 2:15-20

15 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.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 

3. Reflect on the Scripture:

After the angels had worshiped God, they left and went to heaven. The shepherds were compelled to go and see what they had been told. Verse 16 says they “hurried” to Mary and Joseph. This is the same word used to describe Mary’s journey to meet Elizabeth after her encounter with Gabriel (1:39). The sense of urgency, after their respective encounters, was evident in both accounts.

What the Shepherds saw in Bethlehem, confirmed what they had been told by the angel (2:12). After this visual confirmation, they made known what had been announced to them by the angels. Those who heard their message were “amazed.” This response of “amazement” is a theme Luke presents throughout his Gospel. It seems to be the “natural” response by those who come in contact with Jesus, the Messiah.

Other passages we find this concept early in Luke's Gospel include

2:33—It was used to describe Mary and Joseph after they heard the words of Simeon.

2:47—It described the response of those who listened to the young boy Jesus in the temple.

4:22—It captured the reaction of those who heard Jesus read the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue, and then tell his listeners this Scripture was fulfilled in their hearing.

Here in this passage, Mary was not amazed like those who heard the shepherd’s report. Rather, she meditated on what she heard and saw, and she tried to understand (2:19). The shepherds then returned praising God, because of all the things they had seen and heard.

Although a unique story in the history of salvation, there are various actions and responses we can consider when it comes to Jesus, the Messiah. The shepherds went, saw, told, returned, and praised. The people who heard the shepherds marveled. Mary meditated on the events she experienced.

4. Relate to life:

Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.

To pray:

Today, prayerfully consider the various actions and responses mentioned in this encounter.

To do: (With the Holy Sprit's help)

Questions for reflection:

To what response might God be drawing you this Advent season? Why?

How might this impact your life today?

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