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Come and See (Luke 2:8-20)

First Baptist Church http://fbcbartow.org

“Come and See”

(Luke 2:8-20) [on screen]

Christmas Sermon 

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

December 23, 2018

Introductory Comments:

Have you ever seen a child that is extremely excited for you to “come and see” something? Perhaps they made a craft and they want you to come and see it. Or, perhaps it’s Christmas morning and they want you to come and see all of the presents under the tree. 

This Christmas, I want to invite all of us to “Come and See” Jesus. 

Many of you know that I was extremely blessed to go with a small group from our church, alongside a large group from Church at the Mall in Lakeland, to Israel. While we were there, I got to visit Bethlehem and stand in a field that was probably used by shepherds during the time of Jesus. The field was called, “The Shepherd’s Field.” While we were there, we got to read the Word of God and picture what it may have been like to hear the pronouncement of the birth of Jesus Christ. It was a powerful moment. 

Upon reflecting upon the Word of God, I was struck by the idea of the shepherds determining among themselves to go and see the Messiah.

Today, let us come and see the Messiah. 

This morning, we’re going to look at Luke 2:8-20 which will reveal three traits of Jesus that we are to come and see. 

Let’s look at the Word of God together.

Again, we’re in Luke 2:8-20. Keep your Bible open after we read the passage. 

Read the Passage

Read Luke 2:8-20.

8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!

15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.

Let’s pray together.

(Prayer)

As we journey through this passage, I invite all of us to be open to coming to the Word of God and seeing what God is telling us this morning regarding Jesus. 

Let’s see three traits about Jesus. I’ve made it easy for you to remember; they all start with the letter G.

First, . . .

  1. Come and see the gift of Jesus. [on screen]

Notice that these shepherds were just minding their business tending their flocks out in the field. 

Scholars will point out that shepherds didn’t usually tend their flocks near the end of the year, so this couldn’t be around December 25. 

The Bible doesn’t really tell us exactly when Jesus was born. 

Whether this was in April, or June, or September, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Jesus really was born!

It’s perfectly acceptable for us to remember the birth of Jesus and celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ on December 25. 

Anyways, the shepherds were tending their flocks in a field, probably somewhere near Bethlehem. 

This angel appears to the shepherds, with seemingly no warning. 

Keep in mind that the shepherds did not have a star that subtly appeared, as the wise men did. 

They were all of sudden, in the dead of night, face to face with an angel of the Lord!

Verse 9 says, “ . . . the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.”

I would say so. Have you ever had a bright light shined in your face in the dead of night? It’s alarming. 

The Bible says the glory of the Lord shone around them. You talk about a bright light, the glory of the Lord is bright!

The Greek word for terrified here means, “they feared a great fear.” In other words, “they were super scared,” and rightly so. 

So, as angels often do, the angel said, “Don’t be afraid.”

The angel wasn’t there to harm them. The angel was there to tell them something significant. The angel was there to tell them about the greatest gift the world would ever receive. 

Look at verse 10: “But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

We see in verse 10 this proclamation of the gift.

This message is good news of great joy. This term good news is the same root that we use for the word gospel. The angel is proclaiming the Gospel to these shepherds. 

This good news of great joy will be for “all people.”

There’s something to be said that God chose first to reveal Jesus to shepherds.

Shepherds were lowly people, not very well thought of in their culture. They were often dirty, ceremonially unclean, and not the most respected people in the world. Yet, good news of great joy was even for shepherds.

This gift will be available for all people. Every people, every tribe, every nation, every ethnicity, every economic class, every age, every man, every woman, every region, every language, every position, every talent, every lack of talent, every athlete, every band member, every academic, every simple-minded person, every student, every teacher, every criminal, every judge, every law enforcement official, every Republican, every Democrat, every Independent, every pacifist, every soldier, every terrorist, every sinner, every saint, every preacher, every prostitute, every gossiper, every generous person, every greedy person, every Gator fan, every Hurricane fan, every Seminole fan, every country person, every city person, every homeless person, every blue-collar worker, every white-collar worker, every minimum wage employee, every CEO, every parent, every child, every church member, every atheist, every king, and every shepherd. This gift is for everyone and anyone. All people!

Everyone come and see. Come and see the gift of Jesus.

(pause)

Have you seen Jesus for the gift that He is?

(pause)

As we see the gift of Jesus, let us also . . .

  1. Come and see the greatness of Jesus. [on screen]

The shepherds hear specifically about how great this child is. 

Look at verse 11: “11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord”

There’s so much in verse 11 regarding the greatness of Jesus. 

First, the angel says, “Today in the city of David.” The city of David is Bethlehem. This is significant because this is a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies that the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem. 

Second, the angel uses three descriptors of Jesus: Savior, Messiah, and Lord. Any one of these titles given to anyone is great in and of itself, yet the angel ascribes all of these titles to a baby. Jesus is Savior, He is the Messiah or the Christ, and He is Lord. 

(pause)

However, God is not done showing the greatness of Jesus with this one angel. Look at verses 13 and 14. 

13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!

In this humble setting, with the humble birth of a baby, in front of humble shepherds, God vividly shows off the greatness of His Son!

A multitude of angels appear and praise God and give glory to God at the birth of the Messiah, the Savior, the Lord. 

They also proclaim peace on earth to those who will receive the favor of God. 

God has shown His favor to all people by giving us this great gift of Jesus. We can be saved by the Savior. We can be changed by the Christ. We can be loved by the Lord. 

Peace on earth indeed came, and it came in a great way. 

Sin would bring brokenness to the earth, but God would bring peace. 

Have you seen the greatness of Jesus? Have you received the peace that He brings?

Come and See. Come and see the greatness of Jesus. 

He is Savior. He is Messiah. He is Lord. 

(pause)

Finally, . . .

  1. Come and see the glories of Jesus. [on screen]

We’ve already read of the multitude of the heavenly host present before the shepherds. There were perhaps thousands of angels present, we don’t know.

What a magnificent sight this must have been. 

Yet, this was not enough for the shepherds. They wanted to see the baby. They wanted to see Jesus!

Look at verse 15: “When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’”

They wanted to GO and SEE!

(pause) 

So, they go looking for Jesus. Thankfully, the angel gave them instructions. Look again at verse 12: “This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”

They knew the child would be in Bethlehem and they knew he would be in a manger. 

Now, Bethlehem is not a very large city, particularly at that time. It was more like a village. 

There were probably not very many places to keep animals in the village, and far fewer would have had babies present in them. 

So, the shepherds would be able to find Jesus pretty easily based on the information that they had. 

We don’t know for sure how this would have taken place, but most of the time we picture Jesus in a wooden barn or shack while lying in a wooden manger with some hay around it. 

Historians and archaeologists tell us that it was more likely that Jesus was born in a cave and placed in a stone manger.

You see, there are many natural caves on the hillsides and mountainsides in the area. There really wouldn’t have been a need to build barns to store animals, because these caves would work well for free. 

I have a picture to show you an example of a cave in the hillside. This would be an example of a cave that could have been used for animals as a natural stable. 

Concerning the manger, stone was readily available and would last a lot longer than wood. So, the manger may very well have been stone. In fact, some of these mangers are still around today. Here’s a picture of a manger that would have been used in the first century. 

All that is to say, these may have been more like that for which the shepherds were looking.

The shepherds were presumably close to Bethlehem because they decided to go and find this baby, in a manger, wrapped tightly in cloth. 

In verse 16, we see that the shepherds found the family just as the angel described. Look at verse 16: “They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger.”

Can you imagine how awesome this must have been? The angel, the heavenly host, the journey, and then finding the baby with his parents just as was described.

I love to see what the shepherds did as a result of their encounter.

Look at verses 17-18.

17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

As a result of their experience with the angels and with Jesus Himself they started to share about their encounter with Jesus!

Isn’t this what all of us should do after we experience Jesus?

After the shepherds came and saw, they reported the glories of Jesus to others!

First, the angels are giving glory to God and then the shepherds are giving glory to God!

Look at verse 20: “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.”

Everything that was prophesied concerning Jesus was starting to come to be, and specifically, everything that the angels had just told the shepherds came to be true.

The glories of God were on full display through the baby, Jesus Christ. 

The shepherds came and saw the glories of Jesus and they couldn’t help but glorify and praise God and tell others about their experience.

Have you come to Jesus? Have you seen His glories? How has it changed your life? Who have you told about your experience with Jesus?

This is not just a baby, this is not just a man that would give His life, this is the Son of God and God Himself! He is the greatest gift the world has ever seen! He is worthy of all glory and all praise!

(pause)

Imagine this experience. 

The Bible tells us a bit about this experience for Mary.

Look at verse 19: But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them.

This is probably the understatement of the millennium, right? Mary was probably completely shaken by all of this. 

(pause)

Imagine also the experience of the shepherds as they came and saw Jesus. What a miracle!

The angels praised and glorified God, the shepherds praised and glorified God, and now we can praise and glorify God because of His miraculous work displayed in Jesus, the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord. 

Concluding Thoughts:

Come and see the gift, the greatness, and the glories of Jesus. 

Come and see the wonderful gift of Jesus!

That’s our bottom line today. 

Bottom Line: Come and see the wonderful gift of Jesus! [on screen]

This Christmas, come to Jesus and see Him for all that He is.

Challenge yourself this Christmas in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

  1. Identify how coming to Jesus has changed you. [on screen]

How is your life different because of your experience with Jesus?

Write about it, journal about it, post on social media about it, share about it with someone else. 

  1. Invite someone to come and see Jesus. [on screen]

As the shepherds did, tell someone else about Jesus. 

Invite someone else to come and see Jesus. 

Closing:

Have you come to Jesus? Have you seen Jesus? Have you been changed by the good news that the angels proclaimed? Have you experienced the peace that Jesus brought to the earth?

The apostle Paul, someone who was radically changed by the gift of Jesus, said in the book of Romans, chapter five, verse one: Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. [on screen]

(Gospel Presentation)

(Closing Prayer)

Invitation Song – The Savior is Waiting

Benediction:

If you have any sort of spiritual decision that you would like to make, you can contact me or Pastor Richard and we would be glad to talk to you anytime.

Tonight we will gather at 5:30 PM for our Christmas musical, “Carol of Christmas.” I hope to see you here. We’ll celebrate afterward by having Cookies and Cocoa in the Fellowship Hall. 

Let’s dismiss by singing Go Tell it On the Mountain. 

(Sing Go Tell it On the Mountain)

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