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Summary: Why did God choose shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus

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WHY SHEPHERDS

Luke 2:8-20

Intro. Outside St. Mary's Hospital in the slightly shabby London section of Paddington, the crowd was growing by the minute—more than 300 reporters, TV technicians and curious onlookers milled anxiously behind a double row of police barricades and dozens of photographers and TV cameramen perched atop ladders nearby. Inside the hospital, in the private wing, Diana, Princess of Wales, had been in labor since 7:30 a.m. Finally after nine hours, as the afternoon light began to fade and a gray sky threatened rain, a son emerged for all of Britain. Fair of face and blue-eyed like his brother, William, he weighed in at six pounds, 14 ounces. The infant, third in line to the throne after his father and brother, would be known officially as Prince Henry Charles Albert David, it was announced—and just "Harry" to his family and chums. A TV crewman, hooked up to his home office through head-phones, broke the news to the mob outside St. Mary's. "It's a boy!" he shouted. The crowd exploded in cheers. At that a rubbernecking motorist in front of the hospital drove into the side of an ambulance.

Moments later a town crier, decked out in a white-plumed hat and red knickers, rang a large bronze bell and intoned, "Her Royal Highness the Princess Diana has issued forth a second son." Champagne corks popped and church bells pealed throughout the kingdom. Congratulatory flowers and telegrams poured into the hospital, and two traditional 41-gun salutes ripped the air.

. All this press for the birth of a little boy.

. That’s what happens when man announces the birth of a prince or maybe a future king.

. My guess is that if there were birth announcements sent out they would have been laced or edged in gold.

. The point here is that by mans standards you would have expected the birth of the Messiah, The Christ Child to be announced to the most important people in the world wouldn’t you?

. Political leaders – kings, governors, magistrates, even Caesar – might be invited to come and pay homage to the future ruler. Religious leaders – Priests, rabbis, synagogue officials, the head of the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin – they would all be invited to worship their Messiah. Military leaders. Wealthy merchants. Men and women of distinction. The news media. But none of them got the word. None of them were invited .

.There were three kings from the east who figured it out but not by invitation and they got there significantly late.

. Only a few, poor, shepherds, the social and religious outcasts, received the announcement.

. Lets read our scripture. Luke 2:8-20

. That night there were fshepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.9Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,10but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.11The gSavior—yes, the hMessiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!12And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14“iGlory to God in highest heaven,

and jpeace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.17After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.18All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,19but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.20The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

. The fact that god made the announcement to shepherds helps us to understand the real meaning of Christmas.

. John 3:16 tells us that God loved mankind so much that he sent His son to save us. The greatest birth in history and here in Luke, we see recorded that He chose to make this announcement to and through shepherds first.

. 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. Their line of work prevented them from participating in the feasts and holy days that made up the Jewish religious calendar. Why? Well, somebody had to watch the sheep. When everyone else was making the trip to Jerusalem to make sacrifices at the temple, or to participate in one of the annual feasts, they were out in the fields, watching over the sheep. A modern day example might be a trucker or a shift worker, whose job keeps them from regularly attending church. It wasn’t really their fault. But they were looked down on, from a religious point of view. Whatever might have been in their hearts, they weren’t able to participate fully in the religious life of the community.

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