In England, the famous and the wealthy would always put important announcements into the London Times, because the right people would read about it. Ironically, you knew you had arrived if your Obituary was in the Times, but then you were unable to enjoy the accolades or status.
I wonder what you would do if you had a very important announcement to make? To whom would you make the announcement? Where would you make the announcement?
The most important announcement that has EVER been made, in the whole history of Humanity, was made in the most glorious way to foreigners and complete strangers and to the most inglorious people possible.
Is it not amazing that the first people to be seeking out the saviour of the world were Persian tourists – strangers – foreigners? They had known that something remarkable was going to happen for quite a while. The journey they took was probably 1000 miles – and probably with a huge camel caravan they traveled, on a good day, 12 miles. Therefore their journey alone may have taken anything from 80-100 days – 2.5 – 3.5 months for them to traveled to Jerusalem. Why undertake such a journey? Who were these wise men?
Of course the Bible does not tell us HOW many wise men there were. We infer three because of the gifts. Also, we often imagine these wise men as magicians, or astrologers, or philosophers. But what if they were actually believers in Yahweh, believers in the God of Israel and what if their presence was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy?
These wise men’s technical name was Magi. And if you remember, Yahweh blessed powerful a man who was the head of the Magi – Daniel. Daniel was a man who received remarkable prophecies about the future coming of Jesus Christ, and when he was made the head of the Magi, under both Babylon and Persian rulers, Dan 2:48 – Then the king elevated Daniel to high position and bestowed on him many marvelous gifts. He granted him authority over the entire province of Babylon and made him the main prefect over all the wise men of Babylon..
There is no doubt that Daniel would have trained many in the understanding of the Messiah and of his coming. He would left the Magi the prophecies which were in Scripture. We know this because the wise men say “We have seen his Star in the East”. Why is this so important – Numbers 24:17 says A Star will come from Jacob and a scepter will arise from Israel. They knew this prophecy.
In the wise men God was showing that Daniel’s prophecies about the Messiah was completely true and he shows this by sending a delegation from Persia. The Wise men knew who Jesus was – they bowed down and WORSHIPPED him.
The second group of people that hear the news of the Saviour’s birth are Shepherds. Shepherds were despised by the religious leaders and by the culture generally. They were seen as dirty, hermit like, and lawbreakers. Because they spent weeks and months in the fields they could not follow the strict rule of the law or attend the festivals and worship at the temple. So despised were they that their testimony was regarded as invalid in a court of law.
God announces the birth of the Saviour of the World to these despised and ignored group of people. Why?
1. This baby was to be the ultimate shepherd – just as the metaphor stands for tending his flock and for leading his sheep, it is also a metaphor that he, just like these shepherds, would one day be regarded as a lawbreaker and be despised and rejected.
2. This baby’s ministry was going to be to the poor and ill, the despised and rejected.
Notice what the Angel says to the shepherds – not that a saviour who is Messiah was born in the city of David – but that a savior who is Messiah the Lord was born FOR YOU in the city of David. It is for YOU that Jesus was born!!
And then, the heavenly host appears praising God. The Heavenly Host NEVER appeared before, or again, in such a way in Scripture. This is a one off. Those Shepherds experienced something no human being had ever experienced or since – the Angels of Heaven excitedly praising God because the time had come for the Saviour of the world to be born.
The first to know and to acknowledge and to worship Jesus were foreigners and the despised.
As we celebrate Jesus’ birth let us remember that who we are in the world’s eyes, what we are in the world’s eyes is irrelevant. Both the foreign wise men and the shepherds had no status in Israel, or in the eyes of the religious people – but in God’s eyes they were important – so important as to be in the very center of the proclamation of Jesus’ coming!
They sought out Jesus and they worshipped Him.
Christ Has Come. He has come for US. He has come for you and he has come for me. No matter what is in your past. What you have done in the present. No matter what you think your future looks like – It is for you Jesus was born. Come to Him. Give yourself to Him this Christmas.