Advent 1 Why Shepherds?

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Why Shepherds?  Luke 2: 8-20

Today’s message is not about God’s love for some shepherds, but rather about God’s love for us….

 

Shepherds

  • One of oldest professions – Adam charged with dominion over animals….Abel =keeper of the sheep Jacob and his sons Moses         David
  • Rag-tag collection of sheepherders
  • Uneducated
  • Smelly
  • Low-class
  • Social/religious outcasts
  • Untrustworthy – word not trusted thieves
  • Not permitted to give testimony in legal proceedings
  • Suspicious
  • Little exposure to people- always in the fields
  • Unable to participate fully in religious life of community
  • Unclean
  • Last people you would expect God to notice

WHY the Shepherds?

  • Why did the shepherds receive the announcement of the Christ Child
  • Why did the shepherds receive an invitation to go see the child

WHY Not the Famous and Religious Leaders

  • Priests – Pharisees – Rabbis
  • Kings Generals Senators
  • Wealthy merchants
  • Head of Jewish Council
  • People of distinction

REASONS Why It Was the Shepherds

  • Jesus was later called the good SHEPHERD
  • God showed his love does not discriminate

Class, wealth, social standing

  • God proved no favoritism
  • Love is available to ALL

To show Jesus was not going to be only for kings, governors, popes and priests…but for all people … equally

God likes to use people who are humble –

Unexpected             average           common           unknown

Lowly       low abilities

So his power and wisdom are all the more evident.  

Makes more impact of God’s power

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Inviting the shepherds to be the first to meet the Christ child – showed they were   special to God

Even though they were not beautiful people/..                                                             on the fringes of society –                                                                                           unable to go to temple or                                                                                                   make sacrifices …      didn’t fit in…

simple shepherds –who did what God    commanded, without having to see    other religious professionals  for a second opinion…         and went on to tell about the birth.

Wonder how the shepherds felt?

Doubt?   Can’t be US?  Why us?

What about the sheep?    (took them with them?)

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Another reason WHY SHEPHERDS…

WE CAN relate to those who are not                                                                        in the IN crowd

We understand we do NOT have to                                                                                                 be a genius – a rabbi –

Rich or famous…

WE JUST HAVE TO BELIEVE AND OBEY….

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When we think of the this story,

Let us remember that the angels                                                                              CAME to the shepherds –

Doing their daily tasks  —    living ordinary lives –

Isn’t that what Jesus is all about?   God meeting us where we are…

God coming to us in the everyday routine, not just on High Holy Days

God meeting us in our pain and loneliness                                                                  In our frustration and anger

In our everyday lives

____   Calling on the shepherds with the good news – lets us know this Christ child is for ALL people…

ILLUSTRATION:

His name was Bill.    He had wild hair, wore a T-shirt with holes                in it, jeans, and shoes with no socks.

This was his wardrobe during four years  of college.

Though mildly eccentric, he was a brilliant person.                                                                    He became a Christian while  attending college.

Across from the campus was a traditional church. They wanted to develop a ministry to students, but weren’t sure how to go about it.

One day Bill decided to go worship there.                                                                    He walked in with his wild hair, T-shirt                                                                    with holes in it, jeans, and shoes  with no socks.

The service had started.    Bill started down the aisle looking for a                            seat but the church was full.

By now people were looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything.  Bill got closer and closer to the front, when he realized there were no seats.

He just sat down right on the floor.   Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship,   this had never happened in this church!

By now the people were really uptight, and the tension in the air was thick.

_________

A deacon got up and slowly made his way toward Bill.

This deacon was in his eighties,  a distinguished man with silver-gray hair  and a three-piece suit.

He walked with a cane.  Everyone thought, “You can’t blame him for     what he’s going to do.

How could you expect a man of his age and background to understand some  college kid,                                                                                    thinking he can worship sitting on  the floor?”

It took time for the man to reach the boy.  The church became utterly silent, except for the clicking of the man’s cane  on the tiled floor.

All eyes focused on him.

When the elderly deacon got next to the boy,                                                          he dropped his cane to the floor.

With great difficulty he lowered himself and asked Bill,                                      “May I sit with you?”

The man sat down next to Bill and worshiped with him, so he wouldn’t be alone.

That’s what the birth of Christ means.