"God With Us"

God With Who?

By Pr Zeny Vidacak, December 19, 2050

When the gospel writer calls Jesus “Emanuel” God with us he then proceeds to tell us about three groups of people Jesus came to be with. The story of Christmas is the story about God coming to shepherds, wisemen and Israel's religious and political leaders. God comes to ordinary, wise and leders to both challenge them and give them the good news.

  1. God With Ordinary (Shepherds)
  2. God With Educated (Wisemen)
  3. God With Leaders (Religious Leaders and King)

1. God With Ordinary

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 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.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Who were the shepherds?

Shepherds identity was bound up with their sheep. They were simple, nomadic people who took care of their sheep by protecting them and providing pastures for them.

How were they preceived?
As ordinary, simple, nobodies and undesirable

God's Challenge: While they perceived themselves as simple and ordinary God regarded them as God sent the choir of to show them how special they were. He sent them, the simple shepherds Jesus the heavenly shepherd.

God Challenges Our View of Ourselves

Christmas story about shepherds challenges the way we view ourselves. With the coming of Jesus our identity changes from nobodies to somebodies and from ordinary to special.

God Challenges The Way We May View Our Occupation

For Shepherds they thought that their occupation was simple and ordinary. With the coming of Jesus, God placed importance not only on who they were as people but also what they do, their occupation.

Challenge for Us As Adventist People:

As people we are the least among other Christian denominations. However, God is calling us to be the heralds of His Second coming as the shepherds of old were the heralds of His first coming.

2.God With Educated and Wise

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

God is reaching to them not with heavenly choir and an angel but with a Heavenly star appeals to a sense of greatness. They are at awe and are expecting to meet the greatness. However, God wants educated and wise to meet baby Jesus in a manger. Humbleness and humility is what God wants to teach them. They than worship baby Jesus.

God challenged shepherds on and he challenged wisemen on potentially

3. God With Leaders

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my peoplIsrael.’[a]”

Why didn’t God take the wisemen directly to Bethlehem but rather made them go to Jerusalem first? There is only one reason for it. He wanted religious leaders and the King Herod to hear of His coming.
What Herod and religious leaders hear in the reading from the prophet of old is that the Messiah who ‘will come to rule, will shepherd my people Israel’. Two Challenges for Leaders:

  1. You are first to be shepherded by Jesus the shepherd and only then will you be able to shepherd others.
2. The second challenge is not to lord over people but to shepherd people.

Good News

Good News is that the heavenly, Good Shepherd gave His life for ‘His sheep’. No leader needs to give his life for those he leads. We all depend on Jesus our leader who gave His life for us.