Archive for December 21st, 2008
Shepherds had been the great heroes of the faith in the Bible. Abraham, the “father of the faithful,” was a shepherd. Moses, the great deliverer of the Old Testament was raised in Pharaoh’s palace, but God sent him into the wilderness for forty years before he was prepared to lead God’s people out of Egypt. And most of us remember the young man David, who was a shepherd who defeated the mighty warrior Goliath and became King of Israel. David wrote Psalm 23, giving us words to say: “The Lord is my sheperd …” But for hundreds of years, shepherds had been less than respected. Yet God changed all of that when His Son was born: the angels announced Jesus’ birth first to shepherds!
In my Heartlight.org post this week, The Smell of Sheep, I share some thoughts on these shepherds. I’d love to get your response to any or all of these questions:
What does the presence of the shepherds in the story of Jesus’ birth say to you?
What group of folks in the story of Jesus’ birth most closely characterizes you?
Why do you think Luke mentions shepherds and Matthew mentions the Magi in their accounts of Jesus’ early years?
Does it make any difference to your answer to know that Shepherds were considered “stinky hicks” that no one wanted around and Magi were foreigners who practiced a false religion?
Do you think Luke’s reminder of Jesus’ words inActs 1:8 and Matthew’s reminder of Jesus’ Great Commission inMatthew 28:18-20 has anything to do with us meeting shepherds and wise men in the story of Jesus’ birth?
How can we steal the real Jesus from the story of His life and substitute our own version of Jesus?
What could you point to in Jesus’ birth, and also His life, that would help you answer a person who said, “I’m not sure I’d fit with Jesus, I’m not very religious?”
What do you think Jesus would say to these folks?
What Scriptures could you point to that would help you speak about God’s true love for them?
I’d love to hear your response to these ideas!