Shepherds in the Fields by Night

(Luke 2:9-21)

In the previous post I noted that the Lord could not have been born on December 25th due to the fact that the shepherds were in the fields at night with their sheep. December is too cold in the region of Bethlehem for the shepherds to be in the fields at night and furthermore the amount of feed for the sheep at this time of year is much less during the winter months. So it was almost certainly a different time of year when the Lord was born.

Shepherds visit JesusIt is interesting that the angel of the Lord came to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. Jesus is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings and under any normal scenario his birth should have been front page news and attended by the great and the powerful of the land. Instead though, the angel of the Lord was sent to lowly shepherds to announce his birth.

There is a neat parallel here. Jesus when he went into his ministry frequently called his people and disciples a flock. He frequently used shepherding analogies to describe his followers and those who would come to the Lord. Just before he left the earth he spoke to Simon Peter and commissioned him saying to him to, “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep and feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17) He spoke of the people being like “Sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36) And he often spoke of himself as being the shepherd of the flock.

Thus it is interesting that this analogy carried right through his ministry and his life on earth right from the first days of his life. It also showed that he was a man of the people and someone for the common man to identify with, rather than one who ruled and stood above the people like a ruler. His authority was undoubted, but he was not unapproachable.

The message to the shepherds that night in the fields was one of joy and glory. It was a proclamation of glory to God. And there was the announcement of peace as well, but not as is often proclaimed by man at Christmas. Typically at the time of Christmas we hear it said that it is a time of, “Peace on earth.” However the scripture adds a proviso saying, “…on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.” (Verse 14)

When we do what is pleasing to the Lord and are obedient to his word we receive the grace, mercy and favour of God. And when we are in this place the peace of God rests upon us. If we want the peace of God then we need to learn what to do that will please him. And it is not hard to find out what we need to do. The basis of pleasing God is to believe in Jesus and to be obedient to his word. We must have faith for it is impossible to please God without faith, as is shown in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

Do you want the rewards from God? Then learn what pleases him and have the faith to receive his peace and his rewards.

(Picture sourced from ChristiansUnite.com http://clipart.christiansunite.com/)

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