Luke 2:8-20 The Birth of Jesus Part 3
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
My pastor actually preached on this very passage of scripture Christmas Eve night. The general idea of his message was that God came to the most ordinary, humble of people (the shepherds) and that if God would come to them, why then would He not meet you right where you are in your lowliest of circumstances? It was a stunning service where over 400 people indicated receiving Christ. I’d say it was effective.
Well, I certainly can’t discredit that (nor would I want to) but I do have a little twist. The Lord not only came to the shepherds because of their modest societal stature, but for their eyewitness accounts. These shepherds knew their trade. They knew what was required in “keeping watch over their flocks,” especially when it was dark. They recognized that sheep weren’t capable of looking after themselves. They were familiar with the dangers that await to befall their flock. They fully comprehended the potential sacrifice of their own lives to save their sheep. Dedicated shepherds they must have been––they were tending sheep on the midnight shift for crying out loud! That’s dedication.
Who better, then, could God send to testify of another shepherd, the Chief Shepherd? Jesus said in John 10:11-16:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told (Luke 2:20).” It takes one to know one!