Summary: A short sermon that I preached after doing a Shepherds Monologue for the third Sunday of Advent.
I opened with a monologue done from a Shepherds Prospective followed by this sermon!
Read Luke 2:8-10:
8 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.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them and said to the Shepherds “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news”. When we think of news we often think of bad news. The television brings us news that is often time sad, depressing and painful. We have heard the saying that “No news is good news”. However that is not always the case. We have good news in lives. Maybe a new job; a promotion; a new child or grandchild and so on. However, the good news we are talking about today is news that truly defines good. In fact, I want to call it Great news or maybe awesome news or I have heard that the new teen age word these days is “epic”. It would be epic news. Today we want to look at this great news and discover the implications of this news for the world. The verb used here for good news was later used to describe the bringing of the good news of the Gospel. The Gospel begins with Christ and the good news that the angel is speaking of is Christ.
I. Good News – of Great Joy
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 Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ (or the Messiah) the Lord.
We read in verse10 and 11 that this good news is of great Joy. Today is the third Sunday of Advent, the advent of Joy and the Harrison’s lit the advent candle of Joy. The people of Israel had been waiting for the Messiah they had been awaiting a Saviour.
The Israelites were awaiting a Saviour that would rescue the people from the hands of their captors. They were living under the rule and power of Rome at that time. The Israelites idea of a Messiah would be someone who would rescue them from them their captors. However, Christ came to free mankind of something much bigger than the Roman Empire. He came as a Saviour from sin and death.
The message of great joy was that Jesus the Lamb of God had come into this world. Throughout the history of the people of Israel the priest would have to go into the temple to offer up lambs as a sacrifice to God for the sins of the people. With the arrival of Jesus the Lamb of God and with His death and resurrection to come, God would give us, through Christ, a direct access to Him.
For those who seek this atonement we will one day live with Christ forever. The world will pass away, but we have a hope of eternal life through Christ. Oh what joy!
The Israelites could not see past their circumstances of being under Roman law, they could not see the big picture of who the Messiah truly was and is. In fact, many Jews are still awaiting their Messiah because they did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. However, many today are coming to see Christ as their Messiah, but many are still waiting. The Joy that night that the angels spoke of was Jesus the Messiah, the hope for the world.
II. Good News - for all people
For many years I drove truck, hauling produce from California to Canada. I would often cut across the back roads of Idaho instead of staying on the busy interstate. The area I would travel trough on the back roads would take me through desert, volcano’s, named the Creates of the Moon, but it would also take me through prime sheep grazing mountains. Now you may think that these sheep were in a fenced area, they were not. These sheep still were looked after by shepherds. These shepherds often had an old pickup truck with a home made camper. They live with the sheep, they smell like the sheep. One day I noticed one of these shepherds in a store I stopped at. He looked un-bathed, un-kept and by the way others were avoiding him, I could tell his smell was a little on the ripe side. These Idaho shepherds are considered a lower class in their society.
So too, the shepherds in the time of the birth of Christ were not considered in the upper class. They were the lowest in their society. Tyndale commentary states: Shepherds had a bad reputation. The nature of their calling kept them from observing ceremonial law which meant so much to the religious people. There is debate amongst the commentaries whether these shepherds were regular shepherds or whether they were the shepherds that were assigned to watch the temple sheep that were used for ceremonial sacrifices.