The Shepherds’ Response to God
December 21, 2008
· Speaking at Temple Christian Academy last spring
· Can’t remember topic, but I will remember the lead up & intro
· Routine, principal Wes Harding introducing – police officer…
· Rules about speaking out, put up hand, etc.
· Police officer….now
he is a shepherd
· Almost like it was timed or planned ahead.
· Young boy likely in Grade 1 – lets out the perfect sheep sound….baaaaa,
· Well that generated a few laughs…..and Mr. Harding was right I am a shepherd
· Along with the elders….shepherd the flock here at Peoples – privilege.
· Today look at real shepherds…and their response to God.
Prayer \\ \\
· /Read 2:1-7/
· /v.8/ - Same region close to Bethlehem; shepherds out in the field with the animals, keeping watch by night.
· *Shepherds were doing what they were supposd to be doing.(v.8) “In God’s Will”*
o The shepherds were shepherding and it was night time.
– If you can image – there were no city lights around – it would have been dark.
· Angel of the Lord – a messenger of the Lord – bringing a message to the shepherds.
An angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah the father of John the Baptist; an angel appeared to Mary – specifically named Gabriel.
· The glory of the Lord shone around them* – *speaks of a bright light – this is the bright light that surrounds the presence of God himself, sometimes this is a cloud, or a bright light, or burning fire – but for the shepherds it shone which means that it was a bright light.
This light would have been powerful and all encompassing.
· They were afraid.
I’m sure that you would be afraid too.
Try and picture yourself there as a shepherd experiencing what they are experiencing.
· Fear was a common response to supernatural agents or events.
o Luke 1:11&12 – visibly shaken, seized with fear
o Luke 1:26-29 – greatly troubled
· So the shepherds feared – but just like for Zechariah and Mary the angel says, Fear not or Do not be afraid.
11/ – Have you ever wondered why God would choose to first reveal this good news to shepherds?
Why not the Scribes and Pharisees?
o First – Jesus would be the Chief Shepherd and to go along with this theme
o Second – Shepherds were manly men and when they testified that they had seen an angel they would be believed – they were down to earth type of people, they would be believable.
They were not flighty.
o Thirdly – Shepherds seen as unclean b~/c of the animals b~/c of their work and they could not readily get to the temple to be cleansed.
So this would mean that God chose to reveal his plan of good news to the unclean.
Shepherds were commoners, workers – not the elite or the enlightened they were not the clean on the outside (Pharisees – ritually clean) – God chose to reveal his plan of salvation to the commoners.
§ Scripture is not clear specifically why shepherds were chosen, but I tend to lean toward the last explanation.
§ This good news of great joy is for ‘all the people’
· Does not mean salvation for all people
· Does mean it will be for the Gentiles – those who are known as unclean
§ Unclean Acts 10 – Peter
§ This revealing was not given to the religious leaders, but to shepherds.
This message of good news of great joy.
· Great joy!!! – the concept of joy often accompanies salvation – good news.
o Reminds me of the Parable of the Hidden Treasure – Matt 13:44
– For unto you….
o Savior – only used two times in the gospels (Here and in John 4) The good news is about the Savior that has been born…the Savior who is Christ the Lord – Christ is the Greek word for Messiah – the promised One and Lord denoting this Savior’s Deity.
o This good news is more than the thought – I have good news and bad news which would you like….This good news speaks of saving man from his sin, by sending Christ Jesus to save us from the punishment of sin.
This Savior will be our substitute and pay the penalty on our behalf – when we surrender to Him….that’s the good news!!! We can be united to our Holy God b~/c of the sacrifice of the Savior.
· These shepherds likely never had an angel of the Lord appear to them before, so just to ensure the shepherds didn’t think they were dreaming or hallucinating the angel said, I will confirm my words and direction to you with a sign…this is real…/v.12/.
· If that wasn’t enough…./v.13/
· Time for a quick survey by show of hands….when
I say the word multitude what number comes to mind….
o Would it be up to 10*, *100, 1000, tens of thousand or more.
· So once again, try and picture this scene – not one angel but let’s say thousands of angels suddenly appear – I picture being in a sports stadium to try and get a mental picture and start praising God saying,
Glory to God in the highest….
· This is glory to God who is in heaven, to the highest degree he deserves glory
· And notice it says peace among those with whom he is pleased!
· This means that peace will be with those on whom his favor rests
· Peace is not obtained in the absence of war, trials, problems, or hardships – the absence of those circumstances do not ensure peace – true peace only comes from God.
· Peace follows justification – /Romans 5:1/ Peace is a gift to us from God thru Jesus Christ – to those with whom he is well pleased – they will have peace.
You can have peace right in the midst of a trial, true peace comes from God.
· So it is not peace on earth for everyone, the angels are very specific.
· *God reveals to the shepherds’ and gives direction to them and he desires to us them for His service (v.9-14) “Revealed Direction”*
· He told them about Christ and where they would find him and a sign confirming what was spoken of by the angel and God desired them to go and proclaim or encourage others with the message they had rec’d from the angel – about the good news.
When the angels….to
o Can you imagine this scene between the shepherds – the bright light is gone, the multitude of angels have departed back to heaven and they are back in the dark, out in the fields.
They are discussing what just happened and what they are going to do about what had just happened.
Can you imagine this conversation…have you ever had one of those…What just happened here?
Moments…this was the ultimate what just happened here moments!
· *The shepherds have to consider whether to obey or not (v.15a)*
– /They say…Let us go…
· I love the fact that they (commoners, shepherds) recognize that it was “the Lord that had made it known to them” via the angels….the
angels were merely messengers of God’s message.
/– And they went with haste….
· *First time obedience (v.16) “Obedience”*
o They went with haste, without delay
o There are a lot of things that we do not want to do hastily – but obedience to God is one thing that we want to act upon right away, w~/o delay!
o First time obedience – Life Action Camp.
(No counting..by the time I get to 3)
– And when they saw it…Jesus in the manger – the sign – it was confirmed right then, they found what they had been told about…..THEY MADE KNOWN….!!!
· All who heard it wondered…this word translated wondered is /Thaumazo/ in the Gr.
And it means – marveled or amazing.
This wonder that they experienced was not a confusing wonder similar to when you don’t understand what somebody said, like I wonder what he meant by that….no it was wonder and amazement – they marveled at the proclamation and were encouraged by the truth of what the shepherds had said.
· This proclamation the good news from shepherds, commoners – the unclean – interesting that Christ was born in a stable with unclean animals – he didn’t have the royal, noble birth – it was humble and common.