Did you know there were only 4 people and a group of shephards who witnessed the birth of Jesus? It’s hard to believe that one of the most important events in the Bible such as the arrival of our king, took place in a stable amongst barn animals and shepherds.
One would think that our new king would be amongst the richest of rich, kings and queens and a crowd of people to witness his arrival. Only this is not how our God works. Last week we discussed how many Israelite’s missed out on the arrival of their new Messiah, because they were not expecting a baby to be their king.
Who were the witnesses that recognized this extraordinary event? Of course Mary and Joseph were present but there were two groups who were invited. Who were they?
1. The Shepherds. They were invited by an angel to go see a baby in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes (Luke 2:10-12). They were just tending to their flock when an angel appeared before them to tell them this great news. The angel didn’t appear before rich men, but men of a humble nature. “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told to them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them” (Luke 2:16-18).
2. The Maggi. They were not invited like the shepherds but were following the prophecies of when the new Messiah would arrive. They came to Jerusalem and asked “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2). “When they saw the star they were overjoyed. On coming to the housethey saw the child with his mother Mary and they bowed down and worshipped him” (Matthew 2:10-11). Even though the Maggi recognized baby Jesus as the new Messiah, they were not present at the stable when Jesus was born. Their visit was made at the house of Mary and Joseph weeks later.
Who were the last witnesses?
All of the witnesses had recognized baby Jesus as the Messiah, by either an angel appearing or a special revelation (MacArthur p. 130). These last two witnesses weren’t invited but at the right place at the right time.
Simeon and Anna.
1. Simeon was a devout and righteous man who had a revelation that he would see Christ before he died. This day came true when baby Jesus was brought into the temple where Simeon was to perform his circumcision. Simeon even had the privilege to hold baby Jesus in his arms and give him a blessing (Luke 2:28)! He recognized he was in the presence of the new Messiah!
“For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people” (Luke 2:30).
2. Anna as well had been a devout follower of God. “She never left the temple but worshipped night and day fasting and praying” (Luke 2:37). In the moment Simeon blessed Jesus, she understood and recognized the baby to be Christ Jesus himself. Anna a figure in the temple was going about her daily routine, but stopped and took notice of this baby. She was a witness to something extraordinary and recognized it to be from God.
“Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking froward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
Have you ever been a witness to something extraordinary? If so, did you tell others all about it?
Anna didn’t keep this event she witnessed to herself, she gave thanks and told others about the good news!
Will you tell others about the good news; the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior?
Imagine if the shepherds, the Maggi, Simeon and Anna never told anyone about what they witnessed? We would have missed out on the greatest birth ever offering an eternal promise and hope of restoration and redemption.
May you all be blessed with a very Merry Christmas!
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