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.
The result of The Shepherd’s Obedience is that they experienced exactly what the angels said they would. They found Mary and Joseph and the Savior of the word wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
After this extraordinary experience with the angels, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus – they returned glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard. Just as it had been told to them.
This is quite a contrast to their earlier state of being “terrified”. Their first reaction to God is quite typical in the Bible. Anxiety, terror, and fear were the usual reactions to being in God’s presence. Everything had changed between God and man in Genesis 3 (The Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve’s Fall). We were created to have a perfect relationship with God, but when sin entered the world everything changed. Men and women feared rejection and judgment from God. So, when the Shepherd’s experienced the presence of angels – their fear was more than merely being startled. They were terrified of what might happen to them.
Yet, the angelic message was: Do not be afraid, and I’m going to tell you and show you why. The angels were there to bring good news. A baby was born in nearby Bethlehem who would make their relationship with God right again. He would save and restore them to their Heavenly Father. God was here to rescue them, not harm them.
What is an appropriate response to news that you have been rescued? Joy! Thankfulness! Exuberance! Worship! The Shepherds are not alone in this response.
It was Zechariah’s response: Luke 1:64
It was Simeon’s response: Luke 2:28
It was Anna’s response: Luke 2:38
It was the healed paralyzed man’s response: Luke 5:25-26
It was the widow’s response where her son was raised to life: Luke 7:16
It was the disabled woman response at her healing: Luke 13:13
It was the Samaritan leper’s response at his cleansing: Luke 17:15-18
It was the blind man’s response when he could see: Luke 18:43
It was the crowd’s repose at the Triumphant Entry: Luke 19:37-40
It was the Roman Centurion’s response following Jesus’s Crucifixion: Luke 23:47
It was the disciple’s response to a resurrected Jesus: Luke 24:52-53
An encounter with Jesus produces worship. Mary treasured what she experienced in her heart. The Shepherd’s glorified and praised God for what they had seen and heard.
Further Reading: See above.
Reflection: Have you experienced who Jesus is? He is the divine rescue agent of your soul. Reflect on the wonderful lyrics of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings;
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth