Don’t Belittle the Flock!
Christmas ‘2010’ ~ Santa Claus, reindeer, snowmen, (shopping carts) cards, parties, (FOOD), lights on houses, decorated trees, (stress) wrapping paper, bows (debt) Christmas sweaters (Dude!)
Christmas ‘the beginning’ ~ Mary & Joseph, baby Jesus, manger, (humble) bright star, angelic host, shepherds with flock, (awe struck) peace on earth, good news, (SALVATION!)
Luke chapter 2, the familiar recounting of the Christmas story, like that of a well rehearsed children’s play, all the characters are in place, the declaring angels hit their queue perfectly, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” LOVE IT!
There is one small phrase I want to point out in the narrative, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” (v. 8) I’ll jump right to it … did you know that scholars believe, due to the proximity to Jerusalem THESE lambs were the temple lambs. THESE shepherds were caring for lambs destined for sacrifice! The spiritual custom (requirement) of the day was to raise or purchase a lamb, take it to the priests and have it offered as a substitutionary sacrifice for atoning forgiveness of their sins. (Pause … stop reading … think about this)
Would it be a far reach to state that these shepherds KNEW the divine importance of “keeping watch over their flocks …” Could it be that God sent the angels to the people that would … GET IT? The angel declares “… I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” The Messiah has come, the Savior. The narrative continues, “… they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” They left. In a hurry. It doesn’t say if they appointed someone to stay, but they sought out Jesus and then spread the word about Him.
Remember the conversation Abraham had with Issac as they climbed the mountain? Abraham’s response so very prophetic, “The fire and wood are here,” Issac said, “but where is the lamb…” Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb…” (Gen. 22:7-8)
Jesus’ birth. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16)
Fast foreword … 30+ years … this, recorded of John the Baptist, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
About 3 years following John’s statement of Jesus, it is Passover, Jesus, found innocently hanging on the cross. On lookers watch as His blood drips from His beaten, bloody body.
THIS, the season of Passover… the blood of the Lamb marking people to be released from the wrath of God.
Later, as we follow the story of God, the angels again declare … this time … “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing … be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Rev. 5:11,13)
You may ask, “DeDe why so much PASSION for the Christmas season from you?” My simple response: December 21, 1979. THAT date marks for me, Jesus the baby ~ Jesus the Lamb of God ~ Jesus my Savior. At the age of nearly 17, I sat in the Pastors home with Brenda, the pastors wife, as she lovingly shared Jesus. THAT moment, I invited the Lamb of God into my heart. Thirty-one years later, I too continue to spread the word about Him.
May we this season, attempt to grasp the full message of the birth of Jesus. Don’t belittle the flock.
Have we noticed that Jesus never asked that we remember His birth, but to remember His death. The lamb of God.
** Please take the time to watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_L0AXVU5Ks (Watch the Lamb)
In Him, DeDe