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Summary: Since mankind is made up mostly of common people, common shepherds were the first visitors to welcome the Savior of mankind.

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The Shepherds Meet the Good Shepherd

(Luke 2:7-18)

1. Remember the commercials a few years ago that said, "Got Milk?" We Vasiceks are into dairy. We use lots of lowfat cottage cheese, yogurt, and obviously milk.

2. Wisconsin is "the Dairy State," although California is advertising. The land of Canaan was called a land "flowing with milk and honey." I guess it was the Wisconsin of its day.

3. When it comes to dairy animals, the world favors three sources for milk: cows, goats, and sheep. Other sources include buffalo, camel, and horse.

4. "Some of the most famous cheeses are made from sheep milk: Feta (Greece, Italy, and France), Ricotta and Pecorino Romano (Italy) and Roquefort (France)." www.sheep101.info/dairy.html

5. In first century Israel, shepherds had many duties, including that of milking sheep.

6. Although we Christians are referred to as sheep, that does not mean we are necessarily low in intelligence, as is often implied; we certainly do have our moments stupidity -- everyone does; but it really implies that we are precious to the shepherd.

7. Who were the Christmas shepherds? There is a good chance that their flock of sheep was destined for sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem; Bethlehem was on the route. Since sheep were sacrificed year-round, their presence cannot indicate the time of year.

8. But why did God send common shepherds to visit the baby Jesus?

Main Idea: Since mankind is made up mostly of common people, common shepherds were the first visitors to welcome the Savior of mankind.

I. The Shepherds LIVED Out in the Fields (8)

A. The LIFE of the Shepherds

1. What was it like to be a shepherd?

2. Tending, traveling, protecting, shearing, milking sheep.

3. Sheep produced milk and wool, and meat.

• Lonely. Shepherds would talk to their sheep, and their sheep therefore recognized his voice. Shepherds would often play instruments to alleviate the boredom, so they were a musical lot. They would meet friends at certain locations to enjoy fellowship and alleviate the boredom.

• Being a shepherd was dangerous, because wild animals were a real threat. They would take dogs with them, not as sheep dogs, but as protectors from wild animal attacks. Some shepherds did, in fact, die doing their job.

Although some people looked down on shepherds and thought of them as notorious violators of property boundaries, shepherding was, I believe, a respected vocation in Israel. Not classy, not the most desirable, but respected. You won’t hear that elsewhere.

B. The HERITAGE of the Shepherds

The heritage of shepherding in Israel is noteworthy.

1. Abel, Adam’s son, was a keeper of sheep!

2. Consider this: the Israelite nation started out completely as shepherds. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were shepherds.

3. Moses was a shepherd. David, Israel’s ideal king, was trained as a shepherd.

4. Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd. He was not insulting Himself.

5. Church leaders are called Shepherds, of which Pastor is a synonym.

Since mankind is made up mostly of common people, common shepherds were the first visitors to welcome the Savior of mankind

II. The Shepherds Were STARTLED by Angels (9, 13-14)

A. Although not prestigious, shepherds could be GODLY

It is tempting to try to correlate godliness with social class; but the correlations simply do not fit. Godly people come in all classes, and so does ungodliness.

B. "An" Angel -- GABRIEL?

"The angel bypassed Jerusalem, the religious center of Israel. He didn’t go to Herodium, Herod’s villa near Bethlehem. He appeared instead to a band of shepherds tending their flocks (Luke 2:8-9)." [Our Daily Bread]

C. The "Glory" SHEKINAH

The first appearance of the Shekinah since Ezekiel’s time

D. The Significance of the Term HOST

A great army of angels, perhaps an angel for every star in the universe (both called the "host of heaven").

E. The SONG of the Angels

1. Glory to God

The Shekinah is a visible form of God be glorified and worship; the angels song was an audio form of the same concept.

2. Shalom

The Jewish culture recognized the value of shalom, peace. It was worth great effort to be at peace. Jesus extended this concept in the Sermon on the Mount when he advocated walking the extra-mile and taking an extra slap. These were moderate concessions, but giving people a little extra room often works wonders.

But peace that finds its source in God’s grace is on a different plane.

Since mankind is made up mostly of common people, common shepherds were the first visitors to welcome the Savior of mankind

III. The Shepherds Were Briefed About The SAVIOR (10-12)

A. A Savior is a DELIVERER

1. The Messiah would deliver Israel from her ENEMIES

2. The Messiah would deliver Israel from her SINS

B. Christ, the Lord

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