Shepherds – the first responders

Hi how are you all? I am posting a couple close together as I want to look at the Christmas characters. This is important as they all bring life to the story of the birth of Jesus. Joseph had his struggles and triumphs to bring the story to life. Mary had the faith to believe it could happen. But now I want to look at those that are really outsiders to the story – or are they?

The first is the shepherds. Luke 1:8 starts the shepherd’s story. They were in the same country just minding their own business and watching their own flocks. These shepherds weren’t hired ones, they were the owners. It was also night and they were awake protecting their sheep from danger. All of a sudden, a light shone around them and an angel appeared. The angel told them that the Saviour was born that night in Bethlehem.

And that wasn’t all, all of a sudden there were angels singing an amazing song all around them. It was a celebration of the birth of Jesus in the heavens. The shepherds were their only audience. After the sky turned dark again, they arose and went in haste to Bethlehem. We don’t know how long it took them but it was less than a week as Jesus was circumcised at eight days old (and they visited before then).

Why were the shepherds told first? Is it because they were the only ones out on a dark night or was there another reason. We may find the answers to that in John 10:2 where Jesus refers to himself as the shepherd. He is the shepherd that the sheep will follow. In verse 5, it states that the sheep will not follow a stranger. In verse 11, Jesus calls Himself the good shepherd and in verse 12, it says that when danger comes, a hired shepherd leaves the sheep and flees.

How fitting that on Christmas night, the first responders were shepherds and not hired shepherds but ones that owned the sheep. God wanted the first ones there to reflect the heart of God and show us that Jesus came as our good shepherd – One that will protect us and One where we can know His voice.

History tells us that Jesus was born in the manger where the baby lambs were born so it is fitting that the first responders were comfortable in that environment. There was no hesitation from the shepherds. They heard and they went. The place didn’t matter – the story did.

Jesus was also the Lamb of God that came into the world to take or sins. It all ties in with shepherds and sheep. Those first responders were not only shepherds but were sheep who heard the voice of God and obeyed.

Let’s be like the shepherds in our lives. Let’s hear the voice of God and hasten to obey it. It doesn’t matter where (in a manger) or when (at night), we shouldn’t hesitate to obey.

Let’s do that and keep living the life God intended for us.

Bless you heaps

Karen


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