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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12/15/10 Luke 2:8-12 The Shepherds; Angelic Appearance to the Shepherds

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

(Shepherd's Field in Bethlehem- taken by the author 6/2010)

Thoughts: Shepherds are the bedouins.  They are the poor, usually uneducated folk that brave the elements to keep the sheep.  Most scholars point out that the shepherds in Bethlehem kept the flocks for the sacrifices in Jerusalem.  In Bethlehem there is the shepherd's field church where the appearance of the angels is celebrated.  God did not reveal himself to the rich people in the end, but to the poor folk out in the caves/fields with their sheep.  The Great Shepherd of the Sheep has come to protect, heal, and guide His people to the greener pastures of eternal life.  As the shepherds listened, we should hear His voice.

Prayer: Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness.  Make my way straight before you.  You alone make me dwell in safety.  You are my shepherd.  Let me hear your voice and follow you and your way. 

John Calvin abridged:  Not many witnesses saw these events- and most of these were at night.  God revealed Himself not to the wealthy but to the humble and those who were not valued by the world.  So we are not to have the Gospel depend on worldly splendor- but we hold these treasures in earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:5; 1 Cor. 2:4,5). If we desire to follow the Lord, let us not be embarrassed to take as our instructors those who were seen as the garbage of the world. The angel told them to not be afraid, trying to keep them from being overwhelmed with awe.  Real joy is found not in the surface-mirth of the world, but in the deep joy that comes from knowing of the Father's care. If the stable gave no offense to the shepherds, and did not prevent them from coming to Christ for salvation in his humble state; so we should not be offended by the mean and humble state of the signs of God's love.

(Fresco inside Shepherd's Field Church)

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