We are going to be treated to a concert from Heaven. Not us actually but a group of shepherds.
We discussed yesterday that God didn’t want the usual participants witnessing His Son’s birth. He kept Jesus’ birth as an intimate time between Him and the family He chose for His Son. But He also wanted Jesus’ birth to be known. Not by the pillars of society or the religious community. He revealed Jesus’ birth to the people on the lowest rung of society. A group of shepherds.
Shepherds were the lowest of the low in the time of Jesus’ birth. They were not even allowed to be witnesses in court cases. It was believed that they were all dishonest and sinful. The EXACT kind of person Jesus came to earth for. No wonder they were the ones who received the first look at their salvation. This was a group that needed someone to set them free. Jesus would be that Someone.
I was thinking about how the wise men from the east found the house were Jesus was living, a while later. They followed the star in the Heavens and also stopped and asked for directions. But the shepherds only had the short message and concert to go on to find this new infant King. They were told that He was born in the “City of David” and that they would “find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (verse11-12). After those words it was time for the concert.
So, how did the shepherds know where to go? They couldn’t ask directions. But they knew that the City of David’s other name was Bethlehem. And being shepherds, they knew all the stables in the area, or at least the places to look for them. They didn’t need any more clues. They hotfooted it into town and right to the place where Jesus, Mary and Joseph were resting.
I wonder what Mary thought about being descended upon by a group of shepherds. Was she welcoming or fearful? Did she look at them according to their status? Did they share the news about the angels as soon as they arrived? Did they come boldly to the place where Jesus lay or did they bow and scrape all the way to the manger?
How honored they must have felt by the angels’ visit. Did they wonder why they were told? Did they look over their shoulders to see if maybe the angel was talking to someone else; someone more important? Once they saw for themselves proof of the angel’s message they went out and shared what they had heard and seen. But were they believed? My bible says that those they shared the good news with “wondered at what the shepherds told them: (verse 18). What kind of wonder was this? Was it “WOW”, or was it “Where? I want to see too”, or maybe it was “I wonder if I can trust two words this shepherd says.” What did those who heard do with that information? We are not told of any other visitors coming to meet the baby Jesus that night.
In fact, we are not told of any other visitors coming to meet baby Jesus besides the wise men from the east. Jesus will be brought to meet with a few others diligently waiting to meet Him, but that is for another day. As far as we know, the rest of the town continued on with business as usual after the shepherds left. THE greatest birth in all of history has just occurred and the only ones to welcome Him were the dregs of society.
Jesus in His lifetime would call Himself the Great Shepherd. When He did this He wasn’t simply identifying with the task of caring for a flock like these men did, but was identifying Himself with the best king Israel ever had. One who fought for his people. One who expanded his territory through the sweat of his own brow. One who knew intimately what it was to start from the bottom up. A king named David. Saul and David were the only kings ever to become king without being born into the royal family. They were made king by God. Saul’s role went to his head and he let the power corrupt him. David’s role went to his heart. He loved the people of God so much that he care for them as if they were his own.
David only modeled imperfectly what Jesus was perfectly. This baby boy came to love the whole world. He came to bring them hope. He came to set all men free. Many would reject His gifts, but He still offered them to everyone, freely and without reservation.
Father God, thank You for Jesus. Thank You for sharing His birth story with us so long removed from the actually happenings. Thank You for protecting Him and keeping His birth quiet from those who would do Him harm. Thank You for inviting the lowliest people to share in Your joy too. Help me be as humble as those shepherds that came and shared in Jesus’ moment. Help me also readily share the good news, weather someone else believes it or not. I’m looking forward to hearing the angels singing too. That must have been one AWESOME concert!