JOY – the Shepherds

    Searching His Word, Seeking His Heart

Shepherds? Dirty smelly shepherds? What are they doing in this story of the birth of the Son of God? After all, they’re not even fit to testify in a court of law.

Of course, Temple leaders were glad to purchase their sheep for Temple sacrifices—and earn money in the process when they sold the sheep.

Yet, these keepers of the flocks are the very ones to whom the angel appeared to bear the news of the Savior.

Imagine the shock of those shepherds when they were aroused by the brilliant light of the angel on that dark, sleepy night. Like other angelic visitations, the shepherds were startled.

“Do not be frightened,” the angel said. “I bring you good news of great JOY. Today in the town of David [Bethlehem] a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

“Christ” is the Greek word for “Messiah.” This is big stuff, my friends. The shepherds may not have been learned men of the ancient texts, but they did know what this meant.

Now just to make a more human connection for them, they were given a sign to help them see for themselves. (Note—it was not the star. That was given to the Magi.)

“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

As if they weren’t totally awed by this angel, a heavenly host of angels appeared, filling the skies with more brilliance, declaring their praise to God and peace to those who believe.

We don’t know if the angels suddenly disappeared or flew away a few at a time. But when they were all gone and it was a dark night again, I wonder if the shepherds sat stunned for a few moments wondering if they really saw what they thought they saw. 

A light bulb may have flipped on in one of their minds as if suddenly remembering the sign. “Let’s go down to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened.” Imagine their hearts pumping as they took off in a run.

Where would they go? I’d say manger to manger, looking for a baby. No one else would put a newborn in a feeding trough. So, if they found a baby in one of these stables, that would definitely be the one.

When they tip-toed quietly into the stable, they told their story. This wasn’t the dazzling JOY they had experienced on the hillside. No, this was heartfelt, fall-to-your-knees kind of JOY that brings tears to your eyes.

They left the stable and spread the word of all the things they had seen and heard.

. . . and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:18

God sent the news of His sacrificial lamb to the shepherds of lambs. Years later, Jesus declared himself the good shepherd.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

The shepherd to lead you, the sacrificial lamb to save you. Blessed be his holy name. Merry Christmas.

~ Joyce ~

Salvation 3 -The Price He Paid

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

We have underlined Romans 3:23 in our Bibles—all have sinned (Salvation 1 – Who Is Worthy?) and Romans 6:23—earning spiritual death but being offered the gift of spiritual life (Salvation 2 – Wages of Sin).

Now we turn to Romans 6:23, go down to the bottom of your page and write Romans 5:8. When you turn to Romans 5:8, underline the verse and put a star by it.

 Would you die for someone? Do you love anyone that much? Maybe your child or spouse? 

Would you dare to die for a good person? They would have to be really, really good, right?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Long ago, God’s chosen people realized that a sacrifice for their sin was needed. His law required them to bring an unblemished lamb to be sacrificed for that sin. God was preparing them for the very best lamb.

Jesus, his son, came into the world to heal and teach what God’s love is like.

But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

At this point, you can draw a cross on the “Me” mountain.

Some think if they are faithful, responsible citizens or if they do enough good deeds, they can merit the blessings of heaven, but as we’ve learned, none of us is worthy. That valley of sin still separates us from God.

Jesus took upon Himself the sin of all the world. When He bore it all for you and me, He became the final sacrificial lamb.

Here’s the best part! Jesus’ sacrifice formed a bridge between you and God.

His sacrifice covers that sin and He provides the only way to God the Father.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Hopefully these drawings and add-ons will help you in explaining the gospel story.

Oh, but each person has a part to play in this salvation experience. Next week—What is my part?

~ Joyce ~