God reveals his Son to ordinary people—people like you and me
By Matthew Hamilton
Several years ago—I was either preparing for a Sunday school lesson or attending Sunday school—the Holy Spirit impressed upon me the great significance of who the Christ Child was first introduced to and how these people responded. Throughout the years, as I have continued to study and teach regarding these introductions, I have been encouraged, humbled and challenged. It never fails that the Holy Spirit reminds me that God revealed his Son to ordinary people like me who, upon experiencing the Christ Child, responded with praise to God and by sharing the good news.
Consider the parents of Jesus. From biblical accounts we gather that Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, is a man of humble origins. He is from the line of King David, but his trade as a carpenter doesn’t allow him to live in a palace or have a high status politically or socially. In today’s terms he is the equivalent of a construction worker.
Jesus’ mother, Mary, is also of humble origins. She too descends from King David, but the picture Scripture paints is of a young teenage girl with no special status.
Scripture does not tell us about Joseph’s response to Jesus as a baby. But we can gather from Matthew’s record in chapter one that Joseph’s response to the news brought to him by an angel that Mary is pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit and her child is to be a Savior is one of obedience (Matt. 1:24).
Scripture offers a bit more information in regards to Mary’s reaction to the news of her surprise pregnancy. Luke tells us that Mary’s first response is to question the angel’s announcement, but upon hearing more information she responds with humble faith (Luke 1:30-34, 38).
A second group of individuals that are introduced to the Christ Child is the shepherds. Luke 2 offers a vivid picture of this introduction. These men of extremely humble origins are considered to be some of the lowest of the low. They are physically isolated from others because their job requires them to be constantly in the fields with their flocks. They are likely physically unclean. Anyone hanging around sheep all day probably would be, and the last time I checked there wasn’t a Holiday Inn where they could shower. These shepherds are also likely isolated from the spiritual and religious scene as well. Because of their physical uncleanliness it is very unlikely that they could participate in worship even if they were able to leave their sheep for a short time.
When it comes time to announce the birth of his Son, God the Father could have introduced him to kings and queens, to the religious leaders of the day, to the socially elite or to the economically elite. Instead, God chooses to introduce his Son to a lowly band of shepherds. Upon seeing the Christ Child, Luke records that the shepherds “spread the word concerning what had been them about this child” (Luke 2:17). Luke also tells his readers that, “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20).
God also introduces his young Son to the prophetess, Anna. From Scripture we know that Anna has been widowed for a very long time. As a result of being a widow in her day and age she would likely be of humble means and viewed by others as an outcast. Even if she is well off and well received by others, the picture Scripture paints is of a deeply religious woman who is by no means extraordinary. Upon meeting the Christ Child her response is one of thanksgiving to God and sharing of the salvation that will come through the child (Luke 2:36-38).
Much like Joseph, Mary, the shepherds and Anna, I am by no means an extraordinary person. Like them, I am not part of the economic, social or spiritual elite. Each time I read their stories I am encouraged and humbled by the fact that God reveals his Son to people just like me. Each time I read their stories I remember their responses of obedience, of humble faith, of praise, of thanksgiving and of sharing the news. I am reminded that my response to Jesus should be the same as theirs.
From the beginning of time, God has been revealing himself to humanity. Paul tells us in Colossians 3 that God reveals himself through Jesus Christ, his Son. God gives us the greatest gift ever, better than any Christmas gift. He gives us his only Son. Think about it! He gives us, through Jesus, salvation from the pit of hell, a way out when we are tempted, abundant life on this earth and the sure hope of eternal life spent in the unimaginable glory of heaven and in the even more glorious presence of the Almighty God!
The truth is simple. God has revealed his Son, Jesus Christ, to you. He continues each day, especially through Scripture, to reveal him. How will you respond to the Christ Child, especially during this Christmas season? Will you believe the truth that has been revealed to you? Will you respond with obedience? Will you reply with humble faith? Will you respond with praise and thanksgiving?
Will you react by sharing the news with others?
I plan to respond to Christ in the same way Joseph, Mary, the shepherds and Anna did. My prayer is that you will choose to respond in the same way as well.
Matthew Hamilton is a seminary student and a pastoral intern at Bible MB Church in Cordell, Okla. He is married to Michelle, who serves as youth director at Bible MB Church and as secretary of the Southern District Youth Commission.
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