Read Luke 2: 8-20

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14"Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When 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."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  (NIV)

This is such a contrast to the story told by Matthew.  Luke goes to the very day of birth.  And instead of focusing on the grandeur and majesty of the Wise Men from the east entering Jerusalem, looking for the new king and stirring up the people, Luke focuses on a group of Shepherds who were tending sheep on a hillside near Bethlehem.  And one would naturally have to ask, why Shepherds?  They were considered the least of people.  The demands of their work meant that they could not keep to the ritual aspects of the law.  So they did not participate in many religious ceremonies in their life.  In essence, they were perpetually unclean to enter the temple.

Shepherds were also not considered reliable witnesses.  And yet they were chosen to bring a great witness to Mary and Joseph and the people of Bethlehem.  I think the shepherds are important because they show that no one is considered to far out for God’s redemption and purpose.  The good news of the gospel is that it is available to all, including the least and even the unreligious.

And we see in their reaction the one necessity, to believe the good news and then to share it.  We read that they went to see this think and then, “they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”

The good news of the shepherds is that God is available to all.  Are there times you feel distant from God because you don’t seem religious enough?  Know that God does not look at our religious nature but at our heart.  I am thank God does not expect us to be perfect, but sent his Son to make us perfect.  What do the shepherds mean to you?

Blessings and Peace

Pastor Harry