Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

12/19/2018

Harold Akridge

 

The Birth of Our Savior

 

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 that will cause great joy for all the people.” 

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;

He is the Messiah, the Lord.”

(Luke 2:8-10)

 

  Our all-powerful God of Creation used angels over one-hundred times in the Old Testament to deliver important announcements. No announcement was more important than the good news that His son, our Savior was born that night. He chose shepherds working in the field to receive this message and tell others what they had seen. In the Old Testament shepherding was a high and noble position. Shepherds included Abraham who was described in Genesis 13 as having much livestock, herds, and flocks of sheep. In Exodus 3:1-10, Moses was shepherding the flocks of his father-in-law Jethro when the angel of the Lord spoke to him in the burning bush. In early Bible history owning sheep was important and represented wealth. In Job 1:3: “He owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys.” Raising sheep and being a shepherd provided food (1 Samuel 14:32), milk to drink (Isaiah 7:21-22), wool and hides for clothing (Job 31:20; Matthew 7.15), leather for tents (Exodus 26:14), and sheep were the major sacrificial offering. (Exodus 20:24); Leviticus 1:10)  At the dedication of the Temple, King Solomon sacrificed one hundred and twenty thousand sheep. (1 Kings 8:63)

 

  By the first century Palestinian shepherding had changed from a family business as in David’s time to a less desirable occupation. The self-righteous religious leaders maintained a strict caste system at the expense of shepherds and other common people. Shepherds were officially labeled “sinners”—a technical term for a class of despised people. Shepherds occupied the bottom rung of society being denied testimony in court.

 

Question…

Why did God choose shepherds

to make the announcement of His Son’s birth?

Why was heaven’s glory revealed to

a bunch of nobodies in the middle of nowhere?

 

  Thirty years later Jesus uses shepherds as teaching examples because they represented the common, ordinary people and their responsibility for protecting something valuable. Jesus used shepherds as an example in John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” In Luke 15:17 he said that "the good Shepherd will go after one lost sheep." (Luke 15:1-7), and “my sheep will listen to my voice; I know them, and they will follow me” (John 10:27).

 

  God longs to reach the unreachable and He despises smugness, prejudice and pride. These common shepherds were the men who Jesus came to save – who better than shepherds to announce his birth? Jesus reminded His followers that “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

 

  Just as the shepherds were called to announce Jesus’ birth, it is now our time to announce his birth, death on the cross and his resurrection to everyone we know. It is now our time to glorify and praise God for saving us through His son Jesus Christ.

 

—Harold Akridge

    Bella Vista church of Christ