Summary: This is a Christmas sermon that centers around the shepherds & their response to the angel’s message of the birth of JESUS.
Sermon: Why the Shepherds?
Scripture Ref: Luke 2:8-20
This is the SEASON of STORIES & I LOVE STORIES; especially STORIES about CHILDREN who begin to WORK all of us as we APPROACH the CHRISTMAS SEASON.
I thought that was OVER WITH when MY CHILDREN GREW UP but I found that GRANDCHILDREN KNOW HOW do WORK US as well.
I heard the STORY of a LITTLE BOY who was ASKING his PARENTS for a BYCYCLE. He wanted a BYCYLE so BADLY & his MOTHER told him that perhaps he should PRAY about it. So one NIGHT he was up in his ROOM & he was PRAYING about his BYCYCLE & he was SCREAMING at the TOP of his LUNGS.
Finally his MOTHER went upstairs & told him: SON you don’t have to SCREAM when you PRAY. GOD is NOT DEAF. He said, “I know Mommy, but GRANDMA is.”
Open our BIBLES to Luke 2: 8-20
Try to LISTEN to this STORY as if we have NEVER HEARD it BEFORE. Try to put OURSELVES in that FRAME of MIND.
‘& there were in the same country shepherds abiding the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. & lo, the angel of the LORD came upon them, & the glory of the LORD shone round about them, & they were sore afraid. & the angel said unto them, fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David a Savour, which is CHRIST the LORD. & this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. & suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising GOD, & saying, Glory to GOD in the highest, & on earth peace, good will toward men.’
On that NIGHT when the SAVOUR was BORN --- WHO RECEIVED the INVITATION to GREET HIM?
Was it the WORLD’S EMPERORS? Was it the PREISTS? Was it the PROPHETS?
Was it the THEOLOGIANS? Was it the SOLDIERS? Was it the SCHOLARS?
That was an HONOR that was RESERVED for the LOWEST of the LOW.
For the LEAST EDUCATED of MEN.
For RANCH HANDS who were DESPISED by the LOCAL PEOPLE.
For MEN who’s SKIN GLISTENED with SWEAT.
For MEN who’s CLOTHES gave off the STENCH of the FIELDS.
For those who LACKED the MOST BASIC of MANNERS.
For MEN who’s LANGUAGE would be UNFIT for our CHILDREN’S EARS.
For MINIMUM WAGE EARNERS if you will; who were UNLIKELY to be ADMITTED to ANY EVENT of ROYALTY or NOBILITY in their day.
They had NAMES but we have NO IDEA what they were.
Yet, wherever their NAMES were MENTIONED in THAT DAY & whenever they have been MENTIONED without their NAMES in THIS DAY they have GRACED the GUEST LIST for the MOST JOYFUL MOMENT in HUMAN HISTORY.
In his BOOK, GOOD TIDINGS of GREAT JOY WILLIAM BARKELY, the GREAT HISTORIAN & COMMENTATOR writes about the WONDER & HOW it should have been DISPLAYED 1ST of ALL to the SHEPHERDS.
It’s a WONDERFUL THING that the 1st ANNOUNCMENT of GOD came to some SHEPHERDS. SHEPHERDS were DESPISED by the ORTHODOX PEOPLE of the day. They were UNABLE to KEEP the DETAILS of the CEREMONIAL LAW & they could not OBSERVE all the MOST METICULOUS HAND WASHINGS & RULES of the strict PHARISEES. Yet it was these SIMPLE MEN of the FIELD that GOD’S MESSAGE 1st came.
JESUS’ 1ST VISITORS were those whom RELIGION had REJECTED & SCORNED.
So WHY THESE SHEPHERDS
HEBREW SCHOLAR ALFRED EBERSHINE says:
The FLOCKS near BETHLEHEM were NO ORDINARY SHEEP. But here the SHEEP that were being USED as SACRIFICES in the TEMPLE were being RAISED. These were SACRIFICAL SHEEP.
& these SHEPHERDS were SHEPHERDS of these SACRIFICAL SHEEP that were being RAISED for ONLY ONE PURPOSE They would ONE DAY be LED to the ALTAR of GOD & there SHED THEIR BLOOD & GIVE THEIR LIVES & for the SINS of GOD’S PEOPLE..
GOOD SHEPHERDS developed a HEART for their SHEEP. WATCHING over them DAY & NIGHT they DEVELOPED a RELATIONSHIP with them. These SHEEP would GIVE their LIVES because of the WILLING SINS of PEOPLE.
The PICTURE of a LAMB is the BIBLE’S MOST CONSISTANT PICTURE of CHRIST.
& WHO would be a MORE APPROPIATE AUDIENCE to SHARE the GOOD NEWS of the BIRTH of the LAMB of GOD than these SHEPHERDS?
As we read the STORY of CHRIST COMING & 1st being PRESENTED to the SHEPHERDS in BETHLEHEM we see a PATTERN that we NEED to EMULATE today.
Let us ASK GOD to help us to APPLY the EXAMPLE of the SHEPHERDS to OUR OWN HEARTS as we once again FACE the MESSAGE of the SAVOUR’S BIRTH.