In the Christmas season, believers around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus because he is the Messiah. At the time, however, this earth-shattering good news came from a small, inconsequential town and only a few knew of this event. Of the few, we can see at least three distinct reactions to the birth of the Savior.
Seek and worship the King
The wise men went to great lengths to connect with the young Messiah. The sighting of the star provided major motivation, but they had to do research (probably using Daniel’s prophecies) to connect the star with the birth of a king in Israel.
Their long and costly journey resulted in what was apparently a short (but very fulfilling) visit with the child. They surely returned home with great rejoicing and with an amazing story to tell.
Tell it on the mountain!
The shepherds traveled a much shorter distance to go to see Jesus, and they experienced an even clearer source of motivation. Who could ignore a host of angels!? It is interesting to me that they didn’t keep quiet. “They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,” Matthew 2:17.
They were the first mission workers, spreading the Good News! I often wonder if any of them met Jesus 30 years later when he was preaching and healing. I wonder if they realized that the adult Jesus was once the baby they met on that very special night.
Kill the child!
Not everyone rejoiced over the baby’s birth. In reading the Christmas story again I was shocked to realize that Herod knew he was attempting to execute the Messiah! In Matthew 2:4 he calls together the chief priests and teachers of the law and asks them specifically where the Anointed One/Messiah/Christ would be born.
Those students of scripture responded with a text from Micah that was generally acknowledged as a prophecy about the Messiah. There can be no doubt that Herod was willing to kill the promised Savior of Israel just to preserve his position of power and privilege.
In Today’s World
If everyone today responded to Jesus as the wise men and shepherds, there would be no need for missions.
Unfortunately, there are millions of people who hate Jesus, millions more who have never heard his name, and other millions who could care less. For that reason, we are all called to let our light shine before men – whether it is here in the U.S. or in some challenging corner of the world.
*Written by one of our mission workers, his reflection of the Christmas season.
Pray with One Challenge
- Pray for One Challenge workers around the world who are spreading the Good News of Christ our Lord.
- Pray for One Challenge as organization, that we would continue to be an obedient, Spirit-led body of believers.