“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them…” (Luke 2:8-9)
Have you ever wondered, “Why shepherds?” Why did the angel come to them of all people while they were actively watching against thieves and prey?
There are probably several reasons. One of them is surely to highlight the fact that Jesus—introduced in the next verse as Saviour, Messiah and Lord—has come for ALL people, not just those who are well-heeled, well-groomed or well-respected.
While thinking about the significance of the shepherds, theologian John Calvin had a word for we humans who are so prone to delusions of self-importance. “If we desire to come to Christ, we must not be ashamed to follow those whom God chose, from the sheep dung, to bring down the pride of the world.”*
From the sheep dung.
And yet they were the first ones to hear the news.
It makes sense. We are more likely to respond to God’s glorious call on our lives if we are humble—if we are willing to yield our will to his; if we are willing to love others instead of just being infatuated with ourselves; and if are willing to learn and grow instead of pretending that we already have all the answers.
As we prepare to welcome our newborn King, let’s ask ourselves where arrogance has crept into our lives in the past year.
It’s very hard to be filled with God’s Spirit when you’re already full of yourself.
By Matthew Ruttan
–“The Nativity You Never Knew? – An in-depth, historical look at Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:1-20.” You can read it, or hear the audio version, by clicking here.
–If you don’t have a church home, you’re invited to our online service this Christmas Eve at Westminster! It goes live at 5:30pm EST, and will be available all evening. Click here to watch a 30-second sneak peak.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.
–* John Calvin, A Harmony of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke: Volume I, eds. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance, trans, A.W. Morrison (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), 74.