My father invited me home to preach a pre-Christmas message at my Texas church Journey Community Church. As part of the message series, I preached on the Shepherds and how they are connected to the hope and joy of Christmas.
Check out the sermon below:
Who Are The Shepherds? (Luke 2:8-20)
At the time of Jesus’ birth, Israel was ruled by the Roman Empire. In Jewish culture, shepherds were respected because God refers to Himself several times in the Bible as a Shepherd. In fact, Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd. They protected their animals from predators and thieves, but also humble. Now, in Roman culture, shepherds were looked down upon, considered the “lowest of the low.” They were a humble lot.
John 15:11 (ESV) “11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Joy is different than happiness. Being happy is a state you are in. You feel happy when you get home from a hard day’s work. You feel happy when you are with your family at Christmas. Joy is a moment. When you get a raise. When your kid wins that competition. When you overcome a sickness. When you get picked for that promotion. When you see angels coming to tell you that the Savior they have been waiting on has come. Those are moments of joy that burn in your memory.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV) “13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Hope is mentioned often in the Bible. It is a feeling that, no matter how terrible things get, you can make it to the other side. You might be bruised, beaten, maybe even a little defeated, but you made it. At this time, the shepherds had a lot of reasons to be concerned. The ruling empire looked down on them. They were alone, often isolated. They had to face lions, bears, and thieves. They had to make it every night, so to see that angels picked them to start spreading the news that the Savior had come, it was hope that they had been chosen.
Where do you find Hope and Joy?
- Logic and Reason
As I said before, why the Shepherds? If God had chosen a king to spread the notification of Christ’s birth, the focus would have been on the messenger, not the message. God chose the shepherds, the humblest of folks because people would not look to them, but to Christ. As the Savior of all mankind, He is the ultimate bringer of hope and joy. God chose the shepherds, I believe because they were the folks who could be trusted.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my song reviews of Tobymac’s “All I Need For Christmas” of Raely Elle’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.