Peter Barnes | Luke 2:15-20
RESPONDING TO THE PROCLAMATION
The key text is verse 11: the child will be born in the city of David (Bethlehem), and will be Saviour and Lord and Christ (Anointed One). But we will look at the response to this.
1. There is testimony.
– 2:15-17. The shepherds have been called ‘the first evangelists’.
Here is what is called the Priene Calendar Inscription from 9 B.C.: Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a saviour, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance (excelled even our anticipations), surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings (gospel, good news) for the world that came by reason of him.
Why do you not believe this?
2. There is investigation.
– the shepherds investigated what the angels said – 2:15-16. Richard Dawkins: ‘Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.’ The truth is the opposite.
– some wondered – 2:18. Mary pondered – 2:19; see Gen.37:11.
3. There is praise.