Skip to main content

The Gospel to Shepherds

It's Wednesday, Day 25 of Advent.  This is from the Gospel of Luke and it is something that I've thought about often.  How we as ordinary "nobodies"... not known outside our family, community, friends... How we fit into God's great plans to "be" the Gospel to others.  It struck me as I read this account taht shares about the Gospel to the Shepherds.

Luke 2:7-20
7  ...she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10  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.
11  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15  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."
16  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Giving gifts, receiving gifts, sending gifts, buying gifts...we use the phrases at this time of the year often.  We sent our gifts through the mail, ordered them on Amazon, had them shipped to our house, sent overseas, across the moving seems very normal at this time of the year.

That first Christmas, the gift of God came without fanfare.  Jesus was born to Mary in a manger stall...and no one but Joseph witnessed the birth - until God decided sent His angel chorus into the nighttime skies to a group of nobodies.  Think about it:
  • ·         Tell the news to Herod's court?
  • ·         Send an Angel to the Pharisees and High Priest?
  • ·         Tell Bethlehem’s mayor so he can tell the town?
  • ·         Well, at least the Innkeeper and his wife can see?

No, it's to ordinary laborers...shepherds...the minimum wage earners of the first century that God tells first.
Shepherds who had the least "witness believability" of anyone in that society.  Anyone else...a governing authority, a priest, a religious leader, a shop owner, or tradesman...would have had a hearing among the people of the area...but not Shepherds.
Nobodies...We might as well hear the voice through the drive up loud speaker saying, "Do you want fries with that?"  You hear the words, but you don't think, “gee I’d like to meet that person, they must be important”.  

Shepherds...REALLY?  WHY THEM?

It hits me that two significant things are related by Luke.  First, even though they were  startled, even afraid,  what they saw amazed them and they were willing to go and seek out the news for themselves.

Luke 2:15  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." 

Their response was more than just a curiosity - startled by the angelic host praising God, their night turned from the hum-drum to the amazing.  Yet they didn’t settle for a visitation, they decided they need to seek and become visitors to this news.  It’s one thing to hear the words of God, it’s quite another to go after what God’s word says and own it for ourselves.

Secondly, and perhaps even more important, they returned to their work...changed...willing to share the good news...and thus entered into Heaven's hall of fame as the first human beings to declare “Immanuel” - God is with us.

Luke 2:17  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child... The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

We don't need to have a PhD, be a Pastor, get a Seminary degree, have a Masters on the wall...or, if I might say so boldly, even graduate from High be a person God can shows things to, and ask to tell these things of God to the world around us. We share with others what we are convinced we know...and we know what we experience.  It’s those experiences that can never be taken away from us.   We may be nobodies, but God delights in showing His greatness through weakness.  

That's the key, there are no insignificant people in the world...not them, not you, not me.  We are all known by God and we are all cared for by Him.  This is the Gospel, good news that began with Shepherds.  
This was God’s gift to them – and to us – that first night.  It wasn’t the elite that got it, it was the nobodies!  The power is in the Gospel, God's word, not in us.



Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Advent 2011 - Day 1

Advent is a wonderful opportunity to take time to "ponder" Jesus and the Incarnation.  It is not for "fast food" devotions; but rather, a time for "thinking" about all that God has done in sending his Son - Jesus, our Savior, to the world that ultimately would reject him!

Each day we'll read some scripture...then I'll share some thoughts on the passage and invite you to "comment", so that we can all gain from a wider community of God's people.  Please feel free to "comment" at the end of each post.

Finally there is an encouragement to pray, asking God to make the Word spoken more real in our hearts than we can ever gain from our intellect alone.

TODAY:  We read Isaiah 43:14, 18-21

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: … Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? … For I put water in the desert and r…

The Messy Church

The First letter to the Corinthians is what I started reading a couple of days ago.  I'm just about done with it, and it is a picture of the "Messy" Church.
The Corinthian believers, like all believers in that first century, were newly established in their faith.  They probably were a mixture of both Jewish converts and Gentile believers.  Corinth is a port city in lower Greece, and had a reputation for being a city of perversion...sort of "whatever you want, you can get it in Corinth". In fact, to "Corinthianize" was to commit sexual immorality.  It is in this cultural setting that the church in Corinth comes into being.
The church struggled...division, sexual immorality, along with incest, eating foods that were dedicated to idols/gods, marriage's in struggles, freedom vs license as well as freedom vs. law, men and women in pure relationships, abuses in worship, trouble with use of gifts of the Spirit, and doubts about the resurrection...what a…

Advent Day 1, Waiting in Joyful Hope

Psalm 25:1-7
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2  O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame;let not my enemies exult over me.
3  Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4  Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
5  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;for you I wait all the day long.
6  Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
7  Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me,for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!

Psalm 25:16-21
16  Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

Psalm 130:5
5  I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

The first of day of Advent has arrived.  The short season this year still involves waiting. I knew that from my childhood.  Advent came and we waited.  Anticipation was interrupted with pr…