I love the story of the shepherds and the angels. God’s heavenly beings announcing the biggest event in history to lowly shepherds, the guys out tending the sheep in the lonely hills. “In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened. Luke 2:8-9
If you had been on guard duty that night, it would have been totally dark in the hills around Bethlehem. The only light would have been the moon and stars until out of nowhere you are suddenly surrounded by glorious flashing lights. I think terror would have been the emotion of the evening. Before we hear from the angels in tomorrow’s passage, let’s stop and consider why would God send holy messengers to announce His Son’s birth to shepherds? Why not to the powerful kings of the day, or nobles? Perhaps Jesus said it best, in Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus came as our Savior to touch the lives of those that will seek Him. He came to save the world from the penalty of sin which is death. Timothy wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”
As you listen and think about the flashing lights on that lonely night in Bethlehem, praise God that Jesus came. He alone can save. John 14:6 ” “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Isaiah wrote of the darkness in which man existed, the pervasiveness of sin and its oppression. Jesus came in light and glory to dispel that darkness of sin, show it for what it was and still is, and to point all peoples to God. In Matthew 24:14 Jesus spoke of this darkness and the coming of all people to the light. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” The time of proclamation will not last forever but has an end when Christ returns. The time is now to step into His light and follow Him.
Isaiah 60:2-3 “For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
Jesus quoted these next words from Isaiah 9:2 in Matthew 4:16. Then Jesus began to preach “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near,” Matthew 4:17.
Isaiah 9:2 “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
Jesus was and is the light that shines in the darkness bringing light, hope, and redemption to all who believe. Jesus confirmed this in John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus is the one who reveals our sins, that darkness around and in us, and brings us into His light for healing and cleansing.
Be encouraged and convicted as you consider the light Jesus brought to the world.
Because I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am a child of the light. Paul made this bold statement to the Thessalonian Christians while he was telling them to be awake, aware and encouraged as they waited for the Lord Jesus to return. 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” Throughout scripture light has been associated with God- He created light (Genesis 1:3), He is our light and our salvation (Psalm 27:1), He will be our everlasting light (Isaiah 60:19) and Jesus proclaimed himself to be the light of the world on multiple occasions. John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Being achild of light is a privileged place. It is a state of being that is wholesome, pure and does not have a shadow of darkness anywhere. The opposite of a child of light would be a child of darkness. Satan and sin are associated with darkness, and it is a state that leads to death. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Without Jesus we are walking in darkness and are not guided by the ‘light of life’.
I love that Paul tells us in verse 8 above “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” We have salvation and the hope of eternity protecting our thinking, thoughts and future. We are to take this place of light seriously and be on guard, awake and aware of the enemy who would love to lure us back into the darkness. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” We don’t need to be afraid but on guard, always standing firm with the Lord.