December 28

Bible Reading: Luke 2:15-18 & Mark 16:15

The shepherds were not content just hearing about the good news; instead, they determined to go and see about it for themselves. Curiously, God waited to speak to Moses through the burning bush until He “saw that [Moses] turned aside to see” (Exodus 3:1-4). It was Moses’ willingness to turn aside from the affairs of this world and see for himself what the Lord had done that resulted in his life-changing encounter with God at the burning bush. Likewise, we will have no life-changing encounter with God until we, like Moses and the shepherds, are willing to turn aside and see for ourselves what the Lord has done.

Most people today are content to hear, and casual in their response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This explains why it makes no difference in their lives, no matter how many times they hear it. To shrug your shoulders at the salvation that God has wrought for the world in Christ is to leave yourself unaffected by its power and without acquittal from its pardon.

Years ago, I preached at a downtown rescue mission on Christmas Eve. My congregation, for the most part, was comprised of transients, winos and prostitutes. During my Christmas message a somewhat inebriated member of the congregation stood up and shouted out: “Christmas means nothing to me. It makes no difference in my life whatsoever.”

After saying a quick prayer in my heart for God to give me an appropriate response, I asked this inebriated Christmas detractor, “Would your life be changed if I gave you a million dollars?” He quickly retorted, “You bet it would!” I then informed him that there was a way that my gift would make no difference in his life at all. He quizzically asked, “How?” I answered, “My gift would have absolutely no effect upon your life if you refused to receive it.” Once he admitted that this was true, I proceeded to inform him that the reason Christmas meant nothing to him was because he had failed to receive the greatest gift ever given, the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

After seeing for themselves and personally receiving the Good News of Jesus Christ, the shepherds began sharing it with everyone. Like the shepherds, once we’ve seen for ourselves and personally received the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we too need to share it with everyone.

To me, the greatest proof of the power of the Gospel is not its miraculous transformation of others, but its miraculous transformation of me. (Romans 1:16)