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Why the Lowly Shepherds?

Dr. Rick Koole

LifePointe Church

Next May, Carolyn and I will be leading my 11th tour of the Holy Land. I know from experience that one of the sites people will want to see is The Shepherds Field near Bethlehem. It’s an ordinary looking field with rocks strewn everywhere, yet it is a special place where 2,000 years ago a rag-tag group of young shepherds had an incredible encounter with an angel.

As Christmas rapidly approaches, I think it’s fair to wonder why God chose to announce the birth of the Christ Child to a group of shepherds out in a field near Bethlehem. After all, shepherds were on one of the lowest rungs of the social ladder and were not viewed highly by most of the people of Bethlehem. And yet, after the angel announced the Savior’s birth, he was joined by a multitude of angels praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest.”

Let me share three important lessons we can learn from how the shepherds responded.

1. They didn’t waste any time obeying. When 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.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

I wonder if they debated whether or not to go. They could have come up with a number of excuses not to go, or to at least wait until the next morning. They could have said they were too tired or they could have questioned whether it was wise to leave the sheep unguarded. They might have even wondered whether they had really seen an angel from God or was it just their imagination.

They could have come up with a lot of reasons to delay or not go at all, but the Bible tells us, “They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby.”

2. They fearlessly proclaimed the birth of the Savior. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told to them about this child.

After they had seen the Christ Child, they left. But they didn’t hide what had happened. They appear to have told everyone they met what they had witnessed and what had been told to them by the angels, which was, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

How did people respond to this fantastic tale by a group of uneducated shepherds? We read, “And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”

3. God still chooses “lowly shepherds.” The Bible reminds us that, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”


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