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What they did next (Luke 2 v 15-20)

Explore God's Word Daily
Explore God's Word Daily

No one wanted to be a shepherd in first-century Israel. Their job was dull, dirty and dangerous; and the hours were very anti-social! But in this passage Luke presents them to us as people who respond in an exemplary way to the news that “Christ the Lord” has been born.

Read Luke 2:15

Check the facts

As the angels disappeared, the shepherds’ world went dark again. Imagine how they must have been feeling as they picked themselves off the ground and checked they were still alive!

• What do they decide to do (v 15)?
• Is it that they don’t believe the angels? Why do they go to Bethlehem?
• What do they find (v 16)?

It’s true! Right down to the detail of the baby “lying in a manger” (v 12).

• How does the end of verse 20 sum up what the shepherds found in Bethlehem?

We’ve seen that Luke is writing as a historian (1 v 1-4). So he points us to cold, hard evidence, and to eyewitnesses.
The shepherds hear a remarkable claim: that God’s Christ, God Himself (“the Lord”), has been born. But they don’t simply believe it: they check the facts. They “see this thing that has happened” (v 15) with their own eyes.

Read Luke 24:9

• How do the apostles compare to the shepherds in how they listen to what God has done (v 11)?
• How is Peter similar to the shepherds (v 12)?

Luke makes remarkable statements at the start and end of his Gospel: that God’s Christ was born to a virgin, and that God’s Christ rose from the dead.

• Why does it matter greatly that people who weren’t expecting these events SAW what had happened?

Respond to the facts

• What two things do the shepherds do once they’ve seen Jesus Christ (v 17, 20)?

In some ways, the shepherds “returned” (v 20) to their normal lives. We don’t hear from them again in Luke. But in a much deeper way, their lives would never be the same again. They’d met the Christ.

• How does Mary react (v 19)?
• We know Christ the Lord has come into the world. But how do we show that?
• Which do you most struggle with:
     • praising God in your everyday life?
     • telling others about Jesus?
     • setting the truth about Jesus deep in your heart and thinking about Him through your day?
Focus on doing more of this today!

This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

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Originally published December 26, 2011.

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