Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shepherds? Why shepherds?

As we are walking daily through this beautiful season, Jesus is faithful to teach more about who He is and what He is about.
Everyday we read Luke 2, soaking up each treasured word, His words. They are words that are living and active. This I love.
There came in conversation today, talk about the shepherds. We have long taught our kids on this subject. Long in their young years.
If you are not familiar, here is the verse:
Luke 2: 8 "And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."

What's your take on why the angel appeared to the shepherds? Have you heard that it was because they were poor, stinky, lower-class men? Have you heard that they were the lowliest of low? I have. I don't believe this to be the case. Sure they may have been a little stinky. Sure they may have been poor...but there just has to more than that.

Why were these shepherds watching over these sheep? Before the Christ Child was born, do you recall the sacrificial reason for sheep? See it is highly likely that these sheep were the temple sacrifices. The shepherds were in the same region, watching over these sheep that would be used in the temple as sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin.

Here is where it gets good. Beautiful. But isn't it all?

Jesus is our Sacrifice.

Did you hear that? Jesus, the spotless Lamb. The One who would come, live a sinless life, absorb all of our sins, die and resurrect Himself on the third day...HE IS THE SACRIFICE!!!

Do you see it? The picture? Luke goes on to tell us that the shepherds left in haste to go find Mary, Joseph and the baby lying in a manger. What?? How could they leave the sheep? And in haste??The innocent ones that would be slaughtered for the sins of men in their region?? This was their job. How could they just drop everything and go to find this baby?

They got it.

The angel of the Lord appearing to the shepherds is a beautiful picture of Jesus, our ultimate and all encompassing Sacrificial Lamb, arriving. Hope. Born in the city of David...just as it was told.

Don't miss this picture. Please don't hesitate to share it with your children. If the picture was to represent going to the lowliest of low, wouldn't it make more sense for the angel to appear to a leper colony?  I am not sure that is the picture that the Lord is trying to portray. Absolutely there are other passages in the Bible where we see Jesus visiting the lowly or less desirable, like the lepers, poor and the prostitutes. Passages that give examples to follow for the believer. But in this case, He chose shepherds. I think this is something we should consider and find very significant.

I grew up thinking that the angel appeared to the shepherds because they were lowly. I thought that was a beautiful picture...
The picture I have now, it is grand. It is majestic. It causes me to sit in wonder at our great God and King.
Oh that we would grasp the significance of our Savior's birth! To fully know that with His birth, came true forgiveness of sins. His blood poured out to cover ALL of our sins...all of them. His blood. No longer a need for the sacrificial lambs of old. My Jesus paid it all.

Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."

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