Summary: Third in a series of sermons for Advent. See Christmas and advent through the eyes of the shepherds who first heard the news of Jesus birth.
Advent 3 – Through the Eyes of Christmas
A Shepherds Eyes
Some Shepherds. That’s how the bible describes these men: “some shepherds.” No names, no titles, no standouts – just some shepherds. Yet to these men came the first declaration of the greatest event in human history. “There has been born to you a savior who is Christ the Lord.” Today let’s look together at Advent through the eyes of “some Shepherds”.
Let me give you a little background on these men. (much of the following comes a sermon originally presented by Alan Perkins – “The Shepherds”)
Let me tell you a bit about shepherds. They were the last people you’d expect God to take notice of. First of all, they were religious outcasts. According to Jewish religious law, these men were unclean. They did not participate in the feasts or Holy days in the Temple and were seen as religious outcasts. Raising the sheep that would be used for sacrifice but yet unable to participate in the worship of the temple. Shepherds were social outcasts as well. Since they were constantly on the move to find new pasture for their flocks, they were looked on with suspicion. Kind of the way people today might look at gypsies, or carnival workers or drifters. They were often accused of being thieves. If something came up missing – it must have been those shepherds. They were not permitted to give testimony in a legal proceeding, because their word wasn’t considered trustworthy. And on top of all that, they were misfits they really didn’t have much contact with other people. Most of the time, they were “living out in the fields”. This was not a 40-hour a week job. They didn’t come home at night. They were with the sheep 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During the day, they led the sheep to grass and water. They watched while the sheep grazed. They kept an eye out for predators like wolves. And at night, they actually slept in the sheep pen with the sheep to guard against theft and animal attack. Folks let me make it plain Shepherds smelled like sheep. Being a shepherd was lonely, wearisome, usually very boring and tedious, and sometimes extremely dangerous. It gave them a lot of contact with sheep, but very little exposure to people. They had hours and hours with nothing to do but watch sheep eat grass. [Does that make you feel any better about your job?]. Shepherds just didn’t have much social contact. But through the eyes of these shepherds we see the most wonderful elements of the Advent story.
1) Wonder of the Grace of God. The message that the angels brought to this quiet pasture field was a message for all the people. Angels and Shepherds - together -The highest realms of heaven come to the lowest parts of earth - God’s salvation would not be for the elite, or for the privileged He would come for all mankind- from the highest to the lowest - from the uttermost to the guttermost. We don’t have to be scholars, or theologians, or statesmen, or perfect, or even presentable - We come as ourselves
Sometimes we’re just a mess - But God excels at cleaning up messes-
Moses – an upstart on the run guy who couldn’t talk very well – deliverer of Israel.
Joseph – a persecuted, naïve, overprotected little boy – made him a man
David – a little shepherd boy of no account – made him King
Jesus disciples -fishermen, tax collectors, average ordinary Joe’s
Zacheus - crooked tax collector – saved his soul changed his life
Many people say that the wonder of Christmas is in the eyes of children-
The wonder of Christmas is not in the eyes of Children its in the heart of God -
That He should look down upon sinners such as we are - and send His only begotten Son
that whosoever (thats us) believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
2) Through the eyes of Shepherds we see the Great Offer of God. The angels came to these shepherds and presented them with an offer. The Messiah is born in Bethlehem – and this is how you can find Him. Notice that the angels did not magically transport the shepherds to the stable. Did not grab them by the hand and drag escort them to the child. The were given an offer. If you want to see the salvation of mankind – here He is. The great thing is that the offer has not changed. Each one of you here has the greatest opportunity in all the world – to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To come to Bethlehem and see this gift that is given to all the people. No one is excluded – it doesn’t matter where you’ve been – or what you have done – it doesn’t matter what other people say or what other people do. This is an offer that is given to you and you alone must make a choice.