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The night of Jesus’ birth was a very special night, perhaps the most special night that ever was. On what other night did an angel of the Lord appear to shepherds not while they were at worship but while they were at work, watching over their sheep? On what other night did an angel of the Lord herald the news of the actual birth of the Messiah – the eternal king of all creation – who could be found not in a palace clothed in purple silk and attended by maids and courtiers but in a stable swaddled in rough cloth and attended by cows? On what other night did those shepherds, half in fear and half in elation, hastily corral their flock and hurry into Bethlehem to see the newborn king?
No other night before or since has been as special as that one night when the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and gave them the long-awaited good news. The birth of the Messiah was revolutionary enough in Roman-occupied Israel, but even more revolutionary was the directive that these “good tidings of great joy” should be for ALL PEOPLE, not just the children of Abraham.
God does nothing by half or without a purpose. Those shepherds were chosen for their faith and their profession. God knew each and every one of them and designated them to be both the witnesses and the messengers of his holy messenger’s message. What previously had been told only to Mary and Joseph (and known supernaturally by Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mom) was told to the shepherds on that very special night, and the shepherds then, after they had seen Jesus for themselves, told everyone who would listen.
Who are those shepherds, the ones very carefully chosen by God to bring the good news of the birth of the Messiah to all people? We never hear of them again in scripture, or do we?
Just before he ascended to Heaven, Jesus directed Peter, the fisherman, to feed his sheep and his lambs. We know that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and that we are to follow him in everything he does. Jesus was directing Peter to take on his role – that of a good shepherd. Not as one that is hired to look after sheep for a fee, but as one who owns the sheep and guards them with his life. The shepherds abiding in the field on that most special of all nights were such shepherds, just as Jesus was, spiritually, and just as Peter became, spiritually.
Who are those shepherds?
WE ARE THOSE SHEPHERDS.
We have been carefully chosen by God, through Jesus, and have been told and seen for ourselves that Jesus is the Messiah. We are telling the world that the long-awaited savior has come and that his name is Jesus and that Jesus is King. And just like our spiritual brethren, the shepherds and Peter, we have been given the directive to watch over and feed our sheep and our lambs – that is, those who follow Jesus, as well as those who are learning to follow Jesus, and those who are going or have gone astray.
WE ARE THOSE SHEPHERDS. The message from God’s holy angel all those years ago was meant for us, just as Jesus’ directive to Peter was meant for us. Jesus is the Messiah and savior of ALL PEOPLE, and we are to feed his sheep and lambs with his Word and to guard their spiritual well-being with our lives.
Merry Christmas to you all!
HALLELUJAH, and PRAISE THE LORD!