When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
The account of Jesus’ birth mentions many people who were either directly involved with the blessed event or witnesses to it. God wanted us to know how Jesus came into the world to learn from the actions and reactions of those involved.
The shepherds were star witnesses. (Not to be confused with the Wise Men who were witnesses because of a star.) They dropped everything and spread the word. As witnessing goes, they set the standard high—so high that I often find myself repenting for my lack of conviction as a witnessing Christian.
Seek my Savior? Maybe I after I get one more thing done.
Tell others about Jesus? It’s uncomfortable to be that direct.
Glorify and praise God? It just won’t feel like Christmas this year.
With a repentant heart, I turn back to the word, looking for some comfort and joy in this Luke 2 account. And then I see it. A gem.
“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:20).
The key to being a good witness is not found in what the shepherds did but focusing on what God did.
- God provided clarity: God sent the angels to tell the shepherds what had happened, what they would see, what they could expect as a result. With simple curiosity and faith, the shepherds went to see.
- God spoke truth: The shepherds saw that everything God did was just as they had been told. Wherever they went, the shepherds explained that what they saw was exactly what God said they would see.
- God provided a moving experience: God’s words had power to move the hearts of the shepherds to seek Jesus. They were so amazed by what they saw that they talked about it with others. (“You’ll never guess what happened at work today!”) It was all so remarkable that they could not help but praise God.
- God kept a promise: Anyone who dug into the scriptures afterward would plainly see that all of these events were indeed the fulfillment of God’s promises: The long-awaited Savior.
The witnessing lesson here is beautifully simple: What do you see God doing in your life? What does God say in his Word that relates to your circumstances? Talk about that.
“Feel-Felt-Found” is a common witnessing technique. The shepherds used this method long before it became popular in witnessing workshops.
Do you feel afraid? I know what you mean. One night at work, a bunch of angels appeared out of nowhere and lit up the sky. We felt terrified, just like you are now! But God told us not to be afraid. He told us what we could expect to see. And you know what? We found his words to be true!
In 2020 and 2021, my shepherd-like witnessing might go something like this:
I understand how you feel. I’ve felt lonely, too, with so many events cancelled. I’ve found great comfort in Jesus’ words, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” That’s the truth I celebrate at Christmas time—God is with us!
God made the shepherds his witnesses way back then, and he makes us his witnesses now, amid the unique events of our lifetime. Witness wherever he has placed you.
Lord, thank you for all your promises kept at Christmas. Please work in my heart, so that I may be moved to tell others about the work you are doing in my life. Make me an effective witness to the comfort and joy you bring to all people through your Son, Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Written by Angie Molkentin
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry