3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: God chose to announce the birth of his Son to shepherds, the social outcasts of the day. This is good news because we are all outcasts in need of God's grace.

What is your Dream Job? For Rob LeBlanc, it was managing a restaurant. At 35, he was a successful manager with hopes for a good career. But then the Recession hit and his restaurant closed. With his family facing financial ruin, Ron took the only job he could find - delivering pizzas for Dominos. He said during an interview, "I had to swallow my pride and take whatever I could get," Rob LeBlanc says. "I kept telling myself one of these days something better will come along." http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/personal/01/22/family.economic.survival/index.html?eref=rss_us

Perhaps you have worked as a Pizza Delivery driver, or collecting trash, pumping gas or washing dishes. We don’t aspire to these professions. Most of us find ourselves there at one time or another. These jobs are important, necessary, but not desired.

Being a Shepherd was the FIRST CENTURY equivalent to these careers. Shepherds were social outcasts in Israel - Certainly not on anybody’s VIP list.

Why Did God Choose Shepherds to announce the Saviors Birth?

A Little Bit about First Century Shepherds

They were outcasts. “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” (Luke 2:8)

The Bible is filled with powerful examples of sheep and Shepherds, - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David. But this is FIRST CENTURY Israel - they had become so sophisticated that they now looked down on the profession once held by their greatest patriarchs.

Dr. Ralph Wilson gives us insight into the view of Shepherds in the First Century Israel. “Jeremias cites Rabbinic sources to the effect that "most of the time they were dishonest and thieving; they led their herds onto other people's land and pilfered the produce of the land." Because they were often months at a time without supervision, they were often accused of stealing some of the increase of the flock. Consequently, the pious were warned not to buy wool, milk, or kids from shepherds on the assumption that it was stolen property.[3] Shepherds were not allowed to fulfill a judicial office or be admitted in court as witnesses.[4] A midrash on Psalm 23:2 reads, "There is no more disreputable occupation than that of a shepherd." (Ralph Wilson, http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/2_8-20.htm)

God sent his Son to the outcasts. These Shepherds were likely the ones in charge of the LAMBS that would be used in Temple Sacrifice. Special men, but still outcasts.

Their Response:

They were eager. “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.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:15–16, ESV)

Their inability magnified God’s Message. “And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” (Luke 2:18, ESV)

When people heard their story they knew it was from God. God did something for them that they could not have taken credit for themselves.

They are an example of people who are transformed.

They gave God Glory. “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (Luke 2:20, ESV)

Shepherds show us a picture of God’s love and care for us. Of All professions on earth at that time, Shepherds are the ones that most exemplified God’s relationship with us.

Ezekiel 34:11-16. “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.”

Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1, ESV)

Shepherds Show us a picture of Christ’s Sacrifice for us.

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