ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS

THE SHEPHERDS ON THE HILL

The first human encounter with Jesus occurred immediately after his birth.

It was a silent encounter: the breathless shepherds simply stood, and looked, and thought.

And their thoughts were deep and powerful, for what they saw there in that stable was just as the angel had told them it would be: a new-born baby lying in a cow's feed box.

They had cowered in horrific fear back there on the hillside among their sheep, fearful of the heavenly messenger, fearful of the glory of God that blazed brilliantly all around them. Fearful that they might die, for no sinner can survive in the awesome presence of the God who is holy.

But the angel had said 'Fear not!' Amazing words,  unbelievable words, until he added 'I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.'

Here in this baby, this Christ, this Anointed One, is the ultimate answer to the deepest of our human fears. Because of this child, comes liberation from that dread of death and judgement that none of our personal efforts can permanently silence.

Fear not, good news, great joy for all people: because the Saviour, long promised, long expected, has now come.

So the Shepherds ran to Bethlehem, and with the words of the angel ringing in their hearts, they stood and looked and wondered.

From deep in their hearts a well of gratitude and joy sprang up, overflowing, too great to be contained within them, so great that they had to let everybody know what they now knew: that God's salvation, God's deep peace, had now come.

In this baby. In this Saviour. In this Lord.

[Scripture: Luke 2:8-20]

Copyrigjht Rosemary Bardsley 2004, 2008