Luke 2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
We noted yesterday that God chose to announce the birth of Christ the Lord to shepherds. He did not announce His birth to the king. He did not announce His birth to the Jewish priesthood. He announced His birth to lowly shepherds. These particular shepherds were not defiant against the Lord. They were ready to listen to the angel and to the host of angels that accompanied that angel. They were sore afraid at first, but they allowed the angel to calm their fears. They were also willing to leave their sheep and go to find where this newborn babe was.
In verse 16 we read that they came to where the child was and they found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. This was a very modest beginning for Christ the Lord in His incarnation. He could have commanded the best room in Bethlehem to be born. We know that at the last supper, He did not go to a stable. He knew where there was a room that He and His disciples would use for that meal. However, at His birth He chose a stable. His bed was a manger. The manger was the place where the feed for the animals was placed. However, that is where Jesus Christ was laid. It is interesting to note that Jesus Christ would declare Himself to be the Bread of Life. He is the sustenance that every person needs to sustain life. Adam and Eve had access to the tree of life in the Garden. Those who are born again are given life in Jesus Christ and their life is hid in Christ.
The shepherds found things just as the angel had told them. It is important to note as well that the wise men were not at the stable with the shepherds. They would come much later.
In verse 17 the shepherds not only witnessed this amazing event for themselves, but they went and told everyone they met of what they were told concerning Christ the Lord. These shepherds became instant evangelists. They had been given an important message. They had gone and witnessed the truthfulness of that message. They could not keep that message to themselves. They needed to broadcast that message to all that they met.
In verse 18 we see that those who heard this message wondered at what the shepherds had told them. It was not usual for shepherds to be the first to know such an important truth. They were generally out with their sheep. They were not sitting in the gate of the city where news was discussed. However, it does not tell us that those who heard from the shepherds rejected what they said. It tells us they wondered at what they had heard. This was an unusual event, to be sure. However, we see here that the common people were much more receptive to God’s truth than those who should have been awaiting the coming of the Messiah.
The Pharisees and their associates were supposed to be up on the Scriptures. They were supposed to be studying the prophets and they should have been ready to receive this message and ready to proclaim this message to others. That was not the case. That is still seldom the case today. Those who suppose they are wise, are classified as fools by Christ. Those who are seen as being the lower class of people, are the most receptive to the truth.
In verse 18 we read that Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ in His humanity, kept all these things. She was given a special place in history. Contrary to the lies of Catholicism, she was not the “mother of God.” She had a special place but she was a humble woman who was excited to be chosen of God to carry her Saviour. The word translated as “pondered” gives the sense of “considering” but it also has a sense of “disputing”. This was a unique event. Mary was trying to comprehend the fullness of this event. She was not a careless woman who just took things in stride. She wanted to try to understand the significance of this birth.
She was not arguing with God. She was not doubting what had happened. She was simply trying to understand what had happened. Mary is never elevated to deity in the Bible. She is spoken of with great favour. However, she was still a sinner who needed to be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. She was a godly woman, whom God could use to give flesh to His eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In verse 20 God again directs our attention to the shepherds. These shepherds still have sheep to look after. They could not leave them indefinitely. They returned, glorifying God. They would never be the same as they had been just a short while ago. They had heard some amazing things. They had also seen some amazing things. Shepherding 4 legged sheep would never be the same for them again.
In verse 21 we are reminded that Jesus was born a Jew. His mother was a Jew and Joseph was a Jew as well. According to God’s law to the Jews, Mary took Jesus to be circumcised on the eighth day. Jesus would remind His audience later that He came to fulfil the law. He did all things according to the will of His Father in heaven. We see here that Jesus Christ was born under the law to redeem those who were under the law. Jesus Christ was not a sinner in need of a Saviour. He was under the law of circumcision and He would be the means of spiritual circumcision to those who would repent toward God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
At Jesus’ circumcision, He was named Jesus. That was the name that God told Joseph to name Him before He was born. He was not named after Joseph. Joseph was not His father. Joseph was His guardian, chosen by God for that task. Jesus did not take the name of Mary’s father or any relative. His name was unique. The name “Jesus” means “Jehovah is salvation.” Truer words could not be spoken of with regard to Jesus.
The shepherds were blessed with an important message. They acted on what they heard and were blessed in being in the presence of the Saviour! Those who truly listen to God’s Word today, are blessed by having Him as Saviour and Lord.