Summary: The coming of Jesus is the greatest event in all of history. Yet, He did not come with great fanfare or with parades or announcements to kings. Jesus was not born in a large town. Jesus’ birth was announced to simple people... the hicks... who became h
HICK TOWN HEROES
INTRODUCTION… Hick Test (http://www.geocities.com/jam_ieg/stud.html)
* If the number of cattle out number the amount of people in your town
* If you can’t find your town on a map
* If your next door neighbor lives more then a mile away
* If you can hold your breath from one end of town to the other on a single breath
* If the biggest crime in your town’s history was the day you and your brother went cow tipping
* If there are no intersections in your town
* If you see more people riding horses rather then in cars
* If you only have two stores in your town usually a gas station and beer store
* If you own a cage to keep the coons from your garbage
* If you got running water 3 days ago
… then you live in a hick town.
When we think of a ‘hick town,’ we think that nothing good can come from it. We think of it as a small insignificant town with nothing to offer the larger world. The people from these towns are not significant. It is of course not true, but we tend to think it anyway. The biggest and brightest and the most important people and things are located in big towns with lots of people... at least that’s what we think.
The coming of Jesus is the greatest event in all of history. Yet, He did not come with great fanfare or with parades or announcements to kings. Jesus was not born in a large town. Jesus’ birth was announced to simple people... the hicks... who became heroes of the message.
READ LUKE 2:8-20
I. THE ANGEL APPEARED TO THE SHEPHERDS (VERSES 8-9)
I want you no notice what the shepherds were doing. The shepherds were working and were watching their flocks even in the middle of the night. The angel with the news of the birth of Jesus was not sent to the chief priests or the elders or the teachers of the law, but to a group of poor shepherds. These shepherds were not at the top of the social scale. They often had to move around and lived in tents... they were shunned. Their job was not seen as one of the more important ones in society. It seems so odd that shepherds were not highly valued because the patriarchs were shepherds. Moses was keeping the flocks of his father-in-law when he came upon a burning bush and was called to lead Israel from Egypt. David’s job before becoming King of Israel was shepherding. Oddly enough, these are probably the same fields (1 Samuel 17) that David watched his sheep in since he was from Bethlehem.
These common hard working people were not sleeping or retiring for the evening, but were watchful over their herds. "They were broad awake, and therefore could not be deceived in what they saw and heard, so as those may be who are half asleep" (Matthew Henry’s Commentary). Was this a dream? It could not have been a dream to those who were awake and working.
We know that the first reaction of the shepherds was fear. How do we know that? Verse 9 tells us that this angel appeared and the glory of the Lord was around them and they were ‘terrified.’ The word the Bible uses here is meant to show us that they were afraid, but they were also reverent and full of awe. This is the same word used in Matthew 9:8 when the people were filled with awe when Jesus healed a paralized man. This is the same word used in Matthew 17:6 (and Luke 9:34) when Jesus was transfigured before three of the disciples. The shepherds knew they were looking at an angel from God... and this did not happen everyday. They were afraid. They were in awe. They were humble and reverent.
II. THE ANGELS GAVE THE SHEPHERDS A MESSAGE (VERSES 10-14)
The angel appeared to these simple shepherds and gave them quite the news briefing. The angel tells them in verse 10 that he has ‘good news.’ The ‘good news’ that the angel is bringing them is the ‘gospel.’ He is telling them the good news about Jesus Christ. Specifically, that He had arrived on earth.
What exactly did the angel tell them?
#1: the good news was for all people and would bring them joy (verse 10). The news of Jesus’ arrival is certainly a good thing and brings such hope into the world. All people, through Jesus, will have the opportunity to come to God. Jesus’ birth was one step in the plan towards the cross.
#2: the good news is that the Savior was born in Bethlehem (verse 11). The Gospel of Matthew (1:21) records that the angel told Joseph to name the child Jesus for a very specific reason. It is the same reason that the angels proclaimed to the shepherds. Jesus will ‘save His people from their sins.’ He is the Savior.