Summary: From the shepherds we learn early in the Christmas story that Jesus came for the lowly.
The Shepherds Shepherd
- Fitting this morning we look at the lower places of human society and see both people and God.
Shepherds are popular parts in the Christmas dramas around the world.
- This particular society shepherds were considered “lowly” loners. Even though the greatest Israel King was once a shepherd and God is refered to as the “Shepherd of Israel.
- Lots of sheep .. Job had 14,000 (42:12) Solomon sacrificed in the temple 120,000 sheep all at one sacrifice (1Kings 8:63)
- Youngest often left to tend sheep.
This group we will briefly look at this morning were “professional” shepherds ... Many suggest they were tending sheep for sacrifice in the Temple. Quite possibly true. Historical documents (Mishna/Talmud) tell us that the sheep for sacrifice were tended in the fields of Bethlehem.
A Millennium earlier David kept his fathers sheep in the same pastures
This morning we will learn a little about shepherding but more importantly we will learn how the shepherds responded to the Chief Shepherd and we can in turn do the same.
- In the same country as what? ... Vs. 6,7
Let me pull a few applications out of their shepherding.
· “Living in the fields” – Complete commitment. Not part time.
· “Keeping watch” – Both same Gk. root, system plan of watch. Concern for the good and the bad to look for.
· “by night” – Faithful, no one watching ... Dark hours. Can’t see.
· “their flocks” – Ownership, responsibility.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD I SHALL NOT WANT. (Apply these principles)
Well, these shepherds, lowly and faithful ... quiet night ... cool breeze ... same old ..
- KJV ...”lo” ... Is better BEHOLD!!
- BOOM ... Shepherds are the brave silent type ... tackle the wolf or the bear or the rustler ... BUT just can’t appreciate BOOM. Quiet, rustle of the wolf ...
But BOOM ... You can give a shepherd a heart attack with a boom!!
Boom: Three things:
- “Angel stood before them”
- “Glory of the Lord shone around them”
- BOOM – they were surrounded! No mistake.
They were “greatly/sore afraid.”
- The initial response was negative.
- It had come to this. God arrives with good news and man is afraid.
- 400 years of silence.
There is a good fear and bad fear. (Good fear of respect, knowledge of greatness ..)
· Fear that alienates you from God (God is mad, harsh, unyielding ..)
· Fear of what you lose to serve God .. Enemy of God – happiness?
The shepherds had the negative fear.
- Response the angel immediately deals with.
- “Do not be afraid.”
- Main cause of fear is the unknown
Why, do not be afraid? (The rest is laden with fruit ... pregnant with life)
1. “Good tidings of GREAT joy” ... Good news from God!! Immeasurable joy.
2. ‘to ALL people” ... Universal in scope! No one left out.
3. “Born to YOU” ... Personal in application. ... A gift!
4. “A Savior” .... Meets the need.
ILL/ Gift for Christmas ... As you get older you ask for something I need is ... Not just want.
The gift of a Savior. ......
Great but I need BIG saving!!