Key Verse: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
THE INITIAL INDICATION that Jesus’ birth was imminent was not given to the religious leaders of the day, but rather to humble shepherds, who were in the field, watching over their flocks. The account states: “Lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”—Luke 2:8-10
Our Key Verse indicates the spectacularly joyous news of the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem, the “city of David.” The angel further informed the shepherds that the Savior would be found wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger. An angelic choir then broke forth in song, praising and giving great glory to God for his mercy and promise of peace and good will to all mankind. This obviously was a prophecy yet to be fulfilled, but it should stir the heart of every believer who longs for the kingdom of God, during which this and many other glorious promises will be realized.—vss. 12-14
The shepherds traveled to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph along with the infant Jesus lying in a manger. In view of all they had heard from the heavenly hosts, and then seeing the newborn babe, the shepherds were inspired to declare as widely as possible this wondrous event. “They made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”—vss. 15-19
Towards the end of his ministry, thirty-three and one half years later, Jesus Christ had been fully consumed in the doing of God’s will and gave tangible evidence as to having been sent to Israel by his Heavenly Father. Although rejected by the religious leaders, the Master was well received by the common people, who heard him gladly. He healed the sick, cast out demons, fed the multitudes—on one occasion 5,000 strong, and in another instance the number was 4,000.—Mark 12:37; Matt. 8:16; 14:21; 15:38
Nevertheless, despite all of this marvelous testimony, knowing that the time of his earthly departure was near, our Lord began to demonstrate that the various miracles he performed were a means to an end. He was seeking those who would desire to follow him at any cost with the prospect of being associated with him in God’s heavenly kingdom.—Matt. 16:24; 19:21
There were powerful requirements which the Lord set forth for discipleship. Ultimately, only a holy remnant was willing to accept the Master and follow a life of sacrifice and cross bearing, in exchange for the privilege of reigning with him to bless mankind. Our Lord was faithful unto death in laying down his life on behalf of the human family, while also setting forth by his example the object and manner of the kingdom witness which we may be privileged to emulate.
As prospective members of his body, consecrated believers have been invited to follow in Christ’s footsteps by witnessing to the truth and leading a life of sacrifice. The shepherds rejoiced to proclaim the Savior’s birth over two thousand years ago. Let us zealously proclaim God’s soon to be established kingdom as the panacea which will bring blessings to all the families of the earth.