Summary: What happens when the Divine enters the ordinary?
Rev Bradford Reaves
Grace Community Church,
Watch this message on Youtube: https://youtu.be/XoQ2v6xn_tM
We are here in the heart of the birth Narrative for Jesus. This is what we have spent the last few months. Yes, months. This is not something we should reserve for a couple of weeks in December, but something that we should fully understand. This is the pivotal event; a climactic moment when everything that the Lord moved through the ages as recorded in the Old Testament culminates and sets the stage for our atonement and forgiveness. So let's get right into reading this portion of Scripture.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15 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.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:8–20 ESV
Jesus came to save the world. He didn't come to be an example of nobility or morality. He didn't come to be an example of passivity or patience or kindness or mercy. He did all of that but the reason He came to be the Savior of the world. The Jews had long waited for that to happen. They long-awaited the Savior who would come and satisfy the justice of God.
Interestingly, he was also born into obscurity. No one knew he was born, except Joseph and Mary, at least. No one in Bethlehem knew. No one in Jerusalem knew. No one in the Roman world knew. The Magi - basically pagan astrologers - saw the signs in the sky and knew, but they were looking for a Nobleman. Jesus was born anonymously and in the silence of the night.
Which may help us understand the audience of the angelic announcement.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:8–11 ESV
Imagine if God asked you to plan the announcement of the birth of His Son, the Savior of the world. Who would you choose to tell first and why? How would you go about doing that announcement? People today spend all kinds of money today for “gender reveal parties” (a little ironic in today’s culture of the gender blender).
Have you ever wondered “why Shepherds?” Shepherds are one of the oldest professions in the world. Adam was given dominion over all the animals (Gen 1:26). Abel is called a “Keeper of the Sheep (Gen 4:2). God is described in Psalm 23 as our shepherd and Jesus calls himself in John 10 as the “Good Shepherd.”
These Shepherds, which were in the fields outside of Bethlehem, they were tending to the flock. Incidentally, Bethlehem is just a couple of miles outside of Jerusalem. It’s practically a suburb just before the rolling hills of Judea turn into the dessert. A shepherd would be guarding the flock against predators during the night. The sheep would be gathered together in the Sheep-fold. Interestingly, these same sheep would likely be used for sacrifice in the temple. Now the Savior of the world was coming and would be the final sacrifice.