The difference between information and message about Jesus Christ

Luke 2:11
11Today, in the city of David, your Savior has been born—the Messiah, the Lord!
Dear brothers, here is great news: our Savior was born! For us Christians who actively seek the Lord, this is not just news or simple information, but a message of peace and hope! (Hallelujah). However, in everyday life we ​​can be confronted with people who do not see the same way. People who are unable to see beyond the simple fact.
To know how to understand these people and empathize with them, let’s see today “the difference between information and message about Jesus Christ”.
And why do we need to have empathy? So that we can fulfill what Jesus asked of us:

Mark 16:15-16
15Then he said:
— Go all over the world and preach the gospel to all people. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Yes brothers, Jesus asked us for this.
(One day, my wife prepared lunch for us and we were having lunch at home when she told me something that had happened. I didn’t pay much attention and absentmindedly simply said “wow” and continued with my lunch, which was very good. I hadn’t noticed, but she was a little sad at my coldness. Our eldest son then said: “Daddy, when someone tells you something you need to at least pretend interest, otherwise they will be sad and even upset with you.” I agreed with him and said, “this is called empathy.”)
Empathy is you understanding another person’s feelings and being interested in them. In fact, it’s not about pretending, but about allowing yourself an opening to give due attention to what the other is trying to tell you, whether with words or behavior.

Empathy is an art, some have an innate talent, others need to practice to achieve authenticity.
I imagine it is not effective to teach empathy. So today we are going to look at two situations where different people received the information about the birth of Jesus. One of them only got the information, but the other understood the message and had her life transformed. In this way we can begin to reflect on this topic and we can be more successful when we talk about Jesus to someone.

Matthew 2:1-8
1Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in the Judean region, when Herod was king of the land of Israel. At that time some men who studied the stars came from the East and came to Jerusalem. 2They asked:
“Where is the boy who was born to be king of the Jews?” We saw his star in the East and came to worship him.
3When King Herod heard about this, he was very worried, and so were all the people of Jerusalem. 4Then Herod called together the chief priests and the teachers of the law and asked where the Messiah was to be born. 5They replied:
— In the city of Bethlehem, in the region of Judea, for the prophet wrote this:
6“You, Bethlehem, from the land of Judah,
by no means is the smallest
among the chief cities of Judah,
because from you will come the leader
who will guide my people Israel.”
7Then Herod called the visitors from the east to a secret meeting and asked the exact time when the star had appeared; and they said. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem with this order:“Go and get some very accurate information about the boy. And when you find him, let me know, so I can go and worship him too.

Notice, brethren, Herod’s position. His first reaction to the news was “concern”. Herod received the information and believed it. This is very interesting, because he believed that the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah had been born!
So many receive the gospel of Jesus. They believe there was a Messiah, but they are unable to go further and understand his message of peace and hope. The minds of such people are closed to this topic and they are prevented, often unconsciously, from receiving Jesus as their only true Savior.
And at that moment, brothers, we see the first lack of empathy: the lack of empathy of this person who receives the news with the person who delivers the news (we Christians). This is a problem that is not up to us, so let’s look at the second lack of empathy: our lack of empathy with the person who receives the news.
Here we can make a difference. I think our missionary friends are masters of this art. I never tire of being impressed by the work of a missionary who arrives in a sometimes inhospitable region and manages to evangelize. Glory to God for the life of each missionary brother and sister.
I once read a book called “The Melchizedek Factor” (Don Richardson) where some real missionary stories are told. The aforementioned “factor” is the connection point that the missionary finds between the culture of the people to be evangelized and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The link that creates the empathy necessary for the effective delivery of the message, which leads to conversion and baptism.
Therefore, my brothers, when we are going to evangelize someone, let us first pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire us. Second, let’s seek to know a little more about the person we are going to evangelize. What she likes, what she already knows about Jesus, what her interests are. Let’s remember that our goal is not just for the person to believe, but for him to believe and be baptized (Mark 16:16).
I said that we would also see a case in which those who receive the news also understand the message of Jesus and have their lives changed.

Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12
1And when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the time of King Herod, behold, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, 2and asked, Where is he who is born King of the Jews? Because we saw his star in the East and we came to worship him.
9And when they had heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the east went ahead of them, until it came to a stop over the place where the child was. 10And when they saw the star, they rejoiced greatly with great joy. 11 And entering the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And being warned in dreams by divine revelation not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.

Let’s see the difference in this group of people who, like Herod, received the news, but in a transforming way.
In this translation we read it is written “mages”. Some versions have “sages” or “men who studied the stars”. All these descriptions show us that they were people who sought mystical (magic), natural (sage) or astro (stars) knowledge. None of these names lead us to think that they sought religious knowledge.
Even so, God’s spirit guided them without their knowing it. God used a star, for whichever name we want to use, a star was part of his “library” of knowledge since either wizards, sages or astronomers studied the stars. Notice here and the empathy of God’s spirit with these people wearing something they enjoyed. The star was the link between their cultures and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The news was so inspiring that they traveled to see where this boy was and, after meeting Jesus, we can say that they were converted, for the Bible says from there that “…being warned by divine revelation in dreams. ..they left for their own country by another way.” (Matthew 2:12).

It is no longer a star that guides them, but God directly! Hallelujah, for so it must be. After meeting Jesus we no longer need a star, men or any other object, because we have God, the Holy Spirit in us!
And yet it is written that they “…departed for their own land by another way.” Yes, Jesus changes our course, we even go back to our work, our family, our life, but in another way, because now we have been transformed by the message that our Savior was born!
Dear brothers, may this word have inspired each one of us to seek to understand those we are going to evangelize.
Thank you Lord for your word, for your care and blessings upon us. May we obey Jesus’ request to evangelize. May we know how to create the empathy necessary for your message to be received in a transformative way. Glory to God, amen!