When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
The first and chief item is faith. If these shepherds had not believed the angel, they would not have gone to Bethlehem nor would they have done any of the things which are related of them in the Gospel. But if anybody should say. Of course, I, too, surely would believe if the message were brought to me by an angel from heaven, then such a person deceives himself. For whoever does not accept the word on its own account, is never inclined to accept it on account of any preacher, even if all the angels were preaching to him. And whoever accepts it on account of a preacher, he believes neither the word, nor in God through the word, but believes the preacher and in the preacher. If such is the case, faith does not last long.
This is also the real difference between godly faith and human faith: human faith clings to a person; it believes, trusts and honors the word on account of him who speaks it. But godly faith clings to the word, which is God himself; it believes, trusts and honors the word not on account of him who has spoken it, but feels that here is such a certainty of truth that nobody can ever tear it away from it, even if the very same preacher should try it. The Samaritans prove this, John 4[:42]: initially they heard of Christ from the pagan woman, having left town and come to Christ on her word. Now, having heard him with their own ears, they said to the woman: 「We do not believe any longer on account of what you have said; for now we recognize that this is the Savior of the world.」 Again. all those who believed Christ on account of his person and his miracles deserted him when he was crucified. That is the way it is now and has always been. The word itself, disregarding the person, must satisfy the heart, must embrace and capture the man.(Sermons) (AE 52:32–33)