Summary: We rejoice because the Shepherd King, the LORD our Righteousness has come.
A Reason to Rejoice
Take a quick Rorschach (Raw-shak) test with me: Consider the word Christmas. What is the first word that comes to your mind? For some, the word might be JOY. Joy is closely associated with Christmas. We wish each other a “Merry” Christmas. Signs say, “Happy” Holidays. We sing: Good Christian Men, “Rejoice.”
But around the Christmas time, JOY may be the last thing we’re feeling. Years back, Susan was driving our youngest daughter, Kimberly to church. Kimberly was about 3 and her cousin was riding in the car beside her. (Now, you have to think back to the old days. The kids were not sitting side-by-side, safely strapped in car seats. They were standing side-by-side in the front seat. If it makes you feel any better, the drive to church was only a couple of blocks.)
Anyway, it was that hectic time of the Christmas season, and everyone was tired and cranky. Kimberly, especially, was in whining mode! Susan told her several times to stop whining. Then Kimberly’s little 2-year-old cousin turned to her and said, “Rejoice, Kimmy!” A pretty big vocabulary for such a little child. And pretty important message for all of us.
The point of Christmas is to remind us that we have every reason to Rejoice. That’s why the Angel said to the Shepherds: "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
It’s amazing that the greatest of all events was announced to some of the humblest of all people: shepherds. But the fact that this news was announced to shepherds is even more significant than that. You probably have noticed that sheep and shepherds are used a lot in scripture to illustrate our need for God and His care for us.
The good news of great joy was not just for the shepherds in the field that night. We can all rejoice --- because Jesus came to earth as the Good Shepherd. In fact, about 600 years before the birth of Christ, the Prophet Jeremiah prophesied the coming of our Shepherd King.
1. Jesus: The Shepherd King
Jeremiah knew that the coming of this Shepherd King was Good News ------ and it was also Bad News. It was good news for the Sheep. But bad news for Bad Shepherds. Look at how his prophecy starts in Jeremiah 23:
1 "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!" declares the LORD. 2 Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: "Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:1-2
Jeremiah knew the names and faces of these false shepherds. False prophets like Ahab, the son of Kiliah, and Zedekiah, the son of Maaseiah were following Jeremiah around the country, contradicting everything he said. These False Shepherds led the Israelites AWAY from God by assuring them that all was well and they had no need to repent. You can bet they knew Jeremiah was talking about them, and they weren’t happy about it.