A News Gasp!
Just this week when I was driving, our son said, “Mom, you react to stimuli from your environment very abruptly.” You would agree with him if you’ve ever heard my sudden gasps when someone swerves in front of me on the road, something is about to slip out of my hands, or when a colleague decides to jump out at me in the dark with a gorilla suit on. In Luke 2:8-11, we read about an angel that appeared to some shepherds working third shift keeping watch over their flocks. I imagine there may have been a few gasps that night as Luke describes their reaction as being terrified. I have pondered how I would react if an angel appeared to me in the dark of the night – would I shake my husband awake like I do now when I hear a noise in our home? Would I even recognize an angel of the Lord? Would my fear be like the gorilla incident or would it be out of reverence for God?
The divine message is brief, but not brief enough for a 140 character tweet. First, the angel cares for the shepherds by assuring them they don’t have to be afraid. Whew! It’s not an invasion from an undercover boss, but instead “good news” delivered from a personal anchor who would still outrank Matt Lauer “Today.” “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger (Luke 2:10-12).”
Three titles are used to describe Jesus: Savior, Christ, and Lord. Savior, of course indicates Jesus is the one who will save (rescue) us from eternal death. Christ (Messiah) indicates that he is the anointed chosen one who has the authority to do the work of salvation. The third title, Lord, according to Greek speaking Jews would equal that of the God of Israel. It must drive God crazy when He hears us say the church, my Women’s Small Group , or a program saved me. These are definitely vehicles God uses but salvation is the work of Jesus. Good thing we don’t get thrown out of heaven for not giving credit to the right source.
The role description of the shepherds expanded from tending sheep to also share the “good news” once they had laid eyes on baby Jesus. If Instagram would have been the communication tool of their day, a picture of Jesus with the caption, “Born today: A Savior who doesn’t play favorites!” would have been liked more than any other baby photo. And by the way, I’m sure glad Mary pondered things in her heart instead of posting bare-pregnant tummy photos on Facebook. I’ve seen enough of those photos, but what I can’t get enough of is Jesus and posts of his supernatural work.
I fear growing numb to stimuli that causes me to gasp when I hear the good news of someone accepting Jesus as Savior, Christ, and Lord or when I see a kind deed being done secretly in his name. Because I fear growing numb, I’m recalibrating my listening skills in my relationship with God and those He strategically places in my life. I want to gasp every time love trumps hate; rejoicing trumps jealousy; humility trumps pride; submission trumps control, forgiveness trumps anger; justice trumps injustice; sacrificial giving trumps greed; and good trumps evil. I look forward to the gasps when Jesus returns and a new day in the Kingdom of God has truly arrived where everything is turned upside down.