The Native: Paul’s Nativity
6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
The Apostle Paul covered many subjects. One he spoke very little on, was Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Except for this verse, and I had passed over it for years.
There’s only one event in The New Testament it could be referring to. Like Hebrews, it involved The Christ, angels, and shepherds. I like to think of this verse as Paul’s Nativity.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
They say Francis of Assisi started the first Nativity scene in 1223. He did this, after a visit to Israel, where he saw Bethlehem. He wanted to encourage the worship of Christ.
The same as the Apostle Paul did here. He was speaking to the Jews about what he had received, just as the shepherds had in Luke 2. After receiving, they visited the Christ child, and shared the announcement with everyone.
In Paul’s conversion, Christ spoke to Him, and conversation led to transformation. The troubler of churches, became the Apostle to the Gentiles. The same message that Gabriel announced years before, brought Paul peace on earth.
According to the book of Revelation, a Pastor is called the Angel of the local Church. He is both a minister and a shepherd, sharing the vision of Heaven, and caring for the flock. To Paul, as it should be to us, it was more than a Christmas story.
Whether it’s on a plain in Bethlehem, a Roman prison house, or your local assembly, Angels still announce the good news. Bethlehem is more relevant today than it has ever been before.
God did arrive, born of a virgin, to save a lost and hurting world. Angels, we have heard on high, not in glowing robes, but suits and jeans. The message alters all it touches, from the messenger to it’s recipients.
That transformation doesn’t stop at conversion. It continues from the day you experience it, until the day the angel announces His return. He doesn’t offer a shallow reassurance, but a concrete hope.
There are real problems today, just as then. Only unlike Him, we don’t face a murder plot in the first two chapters of our lives. Some would have stood against all who attempted the attack. Instead, He chooses a redeemed murderer to share the Gospel.
Paul knew firsthand the limitless power of the message of Jesus. He voluntarily went from jailer to jail cell, because He believed. Paul believed enough to be born again. Whether you’re a believer, or a skeptic, I challenge you to revisit it today, reading with an open heart.
Hear the angel, see the shepherds, and meet The One who came to Bethlehem, knowing its road would lead to Calvary. Christ believed in us enough, to be born to die. Shouldn’t we believe enough to allow Him in our hearts?