Monday, December 10, 2012

The Shepherds

Luke 2:8-20

King James Version (KJV)
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The Shepherds

It's that time of year again.  Schools and churches are working on their Christmas plays and concerts.  Bed sheets are being turned into shepherds cloaks.  Pretty soon, congregations will be all atwitter about little girls wearing blue scarves holding baby dolls, wise 'men' in fake beards and cardboard sheep, and angels with garland halos and sheer white stocking wings.

The shepherds are often an overlooked group in these local dramas.  They get the word from the angels and then sit quietly on the side while the wise men get all the lines in the play.  But, as Luke testifies, they were the evangelists in this story.

The heralds appeared and announced the birth.   The birth of a King is an important occasion.  Even now, England's Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are barely months pregnant, and the event is being heralded far and wide.  Why?  Because the child will be third in line to the throne of England.  Regents matter.  Their arrival should be announced.

But it was the shepherds who carried the story not only of His birth, but who this Jesus is.  The Word says these workers 'made it known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.' (Luke 2:17).  Sheep have to be moved regularly to new pasture or they will eat the grass to the root.  Their occupation gave the method of their vocation - their calling in Christ.

We can get a little narrow-minded sometimes in how we hear our callings.  When the Holy Spirit gives us a duty, a call to ministry, it's easy to interpret that through the thin lens of a pulpit.  Preaching matters.  Location doesn't.  We are all called to be ministers.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

King James Version (KJV)
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

It doesn't mean that the way we make our living, how we occupy - our occupation - has to change because our calling has been heard.  Instead, we need to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  If we're supposed to change our occupation, then He'll tell us and lead us that way.  

Like the shepherds that were working outside Bethlehem all those many years ago, we just need to tell.  Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32).

So, as we press in this Christmas season, squeeze out the movies and the music and the shopping for a while and let's let the shepherds lead us.  Let's listen to what's being spoken to each of us, individually and collectively.  And when we hear, tell.

After all, we are often like sheep and will go astray without a shepherd....preferably the Good Shepherd.

John 10:25-30

King James Version (KJV)
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and my Father are one.

Merry Christmas!

Lifeline is produced from the Evangelistic Ministry of Fellowship Church in Jonesboro, GA. You are encouraged to share this message. The Fellowship Church website ( includes a link to the Lifeline Blog ( where you can find previous messages. 

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Fellowship Church
Where Passions Become Reality
Because You Are a Chosen Generation

455 Hwy 138 W. Suite C
Jonesboro, GA 30238
Between GA Hwy 85 and US 19/41
Across from EJ Swint Elementary School

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