Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Steps to the Manger: The Shepherds - December 22, 2010

Luke 2:8-18 (New International Version, ©2010)
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 that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, 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 heaven,
and on earth peace to those 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.

They eked out a meager existed on the Judean hillsides watching the sheep that were used for temple sacrifices. No one thought much of the shepherds and their families. In fact, most times the sheep were more highly valued than them. Nevertheless, they were faithful to their duty and took good care of their flocks. if necessary, they would have given their lives for one of their flock if they faced danger. This was just another cold night on the hills, and this was supposed to be just another night watching over the sheep.

What they had just seen and heard was the most amazing thing that ever happened to them, and they wondered loudly amongst themselves why God would come to them, and ask them to visit the newborn Christ child, their Messiah. Was it because their love and care for their flocks was to become a beautiful example that Jesus would later use in his teaching? Was it because like the shepherds, Jesus would also willingly look for the one sheep that wandered away, and willingly give up his life to protect them? No one knows why God had sent his angels to give them the good news, but now in faith in what they had just seen, they were hurrying through the countryside telling all of the wonder of the Christ child.

Has God revealed something to you that He wants you to accept by faith? Has He moved you to spread the word and let others know about the wonder He has shown you? Through the Holy Spirit, God reveals the truths of the kingdom to those He has chosen. He is also very clear about what you should do once you know the truth about Jesus. He does not want you to keep it hidden, but to share what he has given you.

As you spend time with family and friends this Christmas, will there be someone that needs to hear the good news of the Christ child? Is there someone you know that needs the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? You have been chosen to be His messenger; don't forget to share His truth with that someone that needs to know.

There were several steps of faith on the way to the manger, to the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Each of the characters had to take a step of faith and trust to help fulfill God's plan. God's conversation with mankind, his reconnection and plan of redemption would start with these faithful servants.

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