Summary: Why in the world did God choose the Shepherds? There must have been better folk who could been visited. God chose the shepherds because of their characteristic that you and I need. They were open to change.
2003 CHRISTMAS SERIES, MESSAGE 4
THE SHEPHERDS "I’M OPEN TO CHANGE"
Hope Christian Church
December 21, 2003
Dr. David L. Haun
We don’t know when that first Christmas occurred. It’s date is one of God’s mysteries, though man has offered many suggestions. In fact, in the early history of the church, ancient scholars offered over 136 suggestions for the year of the birth (1)
As to the day Jesus was born, early scholars guessed a date for Christmas in every month of the year. It was not for some 300 years that the Pope set the date for December 25. Perhaps this date was chosen because it is in this period of time that the sun begins to move back into the northern tropic, ending the winter, lengthening the short days, and introducing the spring. It may have seemed fitting to illustrate in this way "the rising of the Sun of righteousness on the darkness of this world, and causing the day-spring from on high to visit mankind." (2)
While the date has been hidden by God, the message of the birth has been heralded through the centuries.
A. Think of the most joyous time you have experienced. Think of the most joyous time you could imagine. None could compare with the great joy the angels offered. Let’s consider the story as recorded in Luke 2:8-20:
And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"
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 babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
B. Today, we will consider the Message God has for us by answering a series of questions.
I. TO WHOM ARE GOD’S MESSAGES GIVEN?
A. Anyone God selects
In the eyes of many, he was a failure. He had lost his position of royalty. He had murdered an Egyptian. He was soon living in a basically servant role, working for a father-in-law who didn’t particularly respect him, who cheated him, broke his promise to him, and now had him out with the sheep like any common farm hand. But God had a different plan, and using a burning bush and a speaking flame, God called Moses to become the leader of a chosen nation.
An everyday "average" teenager. We see no indication of advanced education. Her training undoubtedly was to be a housewife. She had no wealth or position. But God’s angel came with a message of choosing and assurance that her name would be remembered through the centuries.
3. You and me.
There were many that God could have chosen,
Brilliant people with gifts all could see.
With above-average skills
and amazing abilities.
But He didn’t. God chose you and me.
There are many that God could be using
To make His world what it should be.
Folk with talent and knowledge and superior strength.
But He didn’t. God used you and me.
When God’s kingdom arrives in its Glory,
And successes of all folk are seen.
When God’s purpose is clear
And His "well done," we hear,
We’ll be glad God picked both you and me.(3)
B. Here were common shepherds.
I believe God purposely selected the Shepherds for his message.
If God had gone to the theologians, they would have felt compelled to check religious commentaries.
Had God visited the elite, they would have checked to see who was watching.
If the successful had been approached, they no doubt would have had to check their Palm Pilot to find an open date.