He could get an audience and captivate them with his yarn. He would describe the time he had seen an angel, or so he said. I had heard about him before. He traveled around, and when he could gather up a local crowd from the towns, he would tell his story.
People soaked it up, particularly the kids. His descriptions scared them. Then, when there were those who looked like they did not believe, he would edge up close, and ask, “Ever seen an angel?” as though trying to brow-beat them to believe his account. Later, he would walk around with his cap in hand to collect an offering because he had told a great story, which had vivid details about beings not of this world.
But, I know what was going on with him. Evidently, he had heard about the group of angels that had appeared to several shepherds, who had been outside of the town of Bethlehem one night. He would tell that he had been there.
But, I knew better than that. The way he described the way the angels looked was completely different than what I had seen. I know first hand—-I had actually been there myself that night. A few of those sheep we watched during that time had been mine. But, mostly they belonged to others who hired us to tend to them.
I mean, one moment we were looking at the stars, and the next there was this excessive bright light, and that angel talking down to us from above. We were captivated by the sight, to say the least.
What was told us was comforting news, because the angel told us that our Messiah had been born—-“the Savior, Christ the Lord.” Our nation had been long told to expect the coming of the Lord. I had been taught that myself since a child. And, I suppose we the Jews had anticipated it over the many years of waiting since the days of our father, Abraham. But, to announce its fulfillment to a group of lowly shepherds like us humbled us, in retrospect. The angel even told where we might see Him, and even what to look for.
What happened next was even more inspirational. A multitude of angels suddenly appeared, rejoicing openly about the birth of the Messiah. They sang joyfully, I remember, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
So, you ask me if I have ever seen an angel—-well, yes, I have. But, it is not seeing an angel, or angels, that I want to tell you about the most.
After the angels left the scene, my co-tenders and I had a brief discussion about walking into Bethlehem and seeing our Savior. How could we not go? So, we just left the flock on its own. We were excited! It did not take us long to walk into the town. Neither did it take long to find the place where He was.
Ever see the Son of God, the Savior, Christ the Lord? Well, we did. We told a lot of people about seeing Him, too.
Our story does not end with that special birth night. Years later, the Lord started a teaching ministry that interested a lot of people. We were still tending sheep when we heard about His salvation teaching and miraculous healings. Each of us eventually became followers of Him.
When He died on the Cross not long ago, the night of His birth came full circle to us. We not only got to see the Son of God, on one hand, there in the manger (as the angel had said), but we also got to see the Son of God on the other hand, that is spiritually. For, He taught how He had come to save sinners, and was willing to sacrifice His life to give all the opportunity to receive the Salvation of God.
That leads me to ask again—-have you ever seen the Son of God? Seeing an angel was great, but seeing the Son of God as personal Savior is greater. It is best to keep that in mind right now.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.