Summary: May we remember that Jesus Christ came to save everyone from the greatest to the least and everyone in between no matter what. May we have a healthy fear, awe, and respect for our God Almighty. May we commit ourselves to being witnesses about the birth of Christ.
CHRISTMAS PARTY: THE SHEPHERDS
LUKE 2:8-20, #ChristmasParty
12/1 Christmas Party: The Angels
12/8 Christmas Party: The Shepherds
12/15 Christmas Party: The Protesters (Herod)
12/22 Christmas Party: The Birthday Boy
Show Luke 1-2 (4:20)
READ Luke 2:8-20
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
THE SHEPHERDS ARE THE POINT
I find it interesting that shepherds were not prized or honored in the Bible lands since Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, King David, and the Prophet Amos were all clearly shepherds in the Bible and I would count them as honored people. In most places, being a shepherd was looked down upon as a dirty job and not desirable. They were mostly poor. We might put them on a list of “the least of these” if we were making a list of such people.
The duties of a shepherd in open country like Palestine were very difficult. "In early morning he led forth the flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his watch and wandered away from the rest, he would seek diligently until he found and brought it back. In those lands, sheep require to be supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were missing. Nor did his labors always end with sunset. Often he had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief.”
So, we know that shepherds were hard working poor folks who were looked down upon by most people. That is crazy considering that in Luke 2, when Jesus was born, the first people to find out about His birth were shepherds. I think that is sort of the point. Truth is different in the Kingdom of God and the message or emphasis does not go the way we think it should go. God made a point to announce the birth of His Son to undesirable shepherds. God offers salvation to people who don’t deserve it. Salvation came through death.
All throughout the Scriptures (especially in the Gospels) what we think is right and good is often turned upside down:
* Matthew 16:24-25, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.”
* Matthew 19:30, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
* Matthew 20:26b-28, “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."