Bible Studies for Life
December 23 2018
Luke 2:1-14 (HCSB)
In October my wife and I drove to Jackson Wyo. to explore the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. On the way back we stopped at the Fossil Butte National Monument. To our surprise there were sheep-herders on horseback moving hundreds of sheep across the prairie. Watching the sheepdogs work was amazing.
Being a shepherd in Jesus’ day was much different than being a shepherd today. In Jesus’ day shepherding was a despised occupation. Shepherds were routinely accused of robbery for using lands they had no right to. It was lonely and dangerous. The Bible speaks well of shepherds; they counted sheep constantly carried weak ones on their shoulders and erected pens so they could sleep safely at night (Jer. 33:12-13; Isa. 40:11; John 10:1). Jesus described Himself as the “good shepherd” (John 10:11). God chose to give the first announcement of Jesus’ birth to shepherds.
As the shepherds watched over their sheep that night an angel of the Lord stood before them clothed in the glory of the Lord with shining majesty. This terrified the shepherds. The angel was quick to say “Don’t be afraid for look I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior who is Messiah the Lord was born for you in the city of David” (Luke 2:10-11). A host of angels appeared and broke out in praise. Trent Butler said “In the most unlikely place amid the most unlikely spectators God brushed aside the world’s fears and provided the world a reason for joy.”
The angel’s announcement was one of joy. Joy is God’s gift to the world in a tiny baby wrapped snugly in cloth lying in a feeding trough. He is a Savior Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11). We must not leave Jesus in the manger and fail to look beyond His birth. He came to die for the sins of the world. The greatest joy we will ever have is accepting God’s gift of salvation and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord.