20/12/05 Carol Service Luke 2:8-12
I was struck by the testimony of the people who had witnessed the Buncefield Oil depot fire. One man said that he would never forget it.
I would imagine that the shepherds would never forget that night the angels came to them.
From this pasage we can see that Jesus has come for anybody and everybody.
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
It may mean nothing to us that God chose to make the shepherds the first recorded visitors to the baby Jesus. However, to the Jews at the time they would seem an odd choice.
Shepherds were looked down upon. They had a reputation for being untrustworthy and, because of this, their evidence was not admitted in court. They were not allowed to worship in the Temple either because their job made them ceremonially unclean. They were social and religious outcasts. Other than Romans and tax collectors you could not imagine anyone less likely to be invited to visit a new born King ! Yet it was to them that God chose to reveal his plan to save everyone. Not to the religious leaders of the day, not to the rulers and governors of the Roman Empire, but outcasts. This tells us that no-one is ever too far away from God. No-one is unimportant to God. Not even shepherds.
Something struck me as I thought about the shepherds. The first people to meet the baby Jesus were the shepherds whose testimony was not valid in a law court. The first people to meet the risen Lord Jesus were women, whose testimony was not valid in a law court either. This is a further indication that God isn't concerned with proving himself to the world. He is more interested in revealing himself to those who are considered inferior by the world.
So do not ever think that you or anyone else is too far away from God. The shepherds prove it.
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
As well as coming for anybody Jesus has come for everybody. Jesus came for everybody. People of different nationalities, colour, sex, age, and so on. Any "box" you like to place someone in, Jesus came for them.
God became a tiny, helpless baby in that stable in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. God who is everywhere, all powerful, and knows everything came to earth as an baby. To show us what God is like. The Bible says that "God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in Jesus". So, if we want to know what God is like, look at Jesus.
When he had grown into a man Jesus said that he had come as the Good Shepherd. In Israel the sheep know he voice of the shepherd, they trust and follow him. In turn, he looks after them, leading them to the right places for them to feed and be safe.
Jesus invites us to make him our personal shepherd. To know his voice, to trust him, to follow him. It doesn't matter who we are. Because Jesus has come for anybody and everybody.