And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8
I was at my first winkel as a pastor. (A winkel is a group of pastors that get together for fellowship and encouragement.)
I had been ordained two months before and didn’t know much of anything practical about being a pastor so I really looked forward to this time with more experienced clergy.
I’ll never forget the message at the opening worship service.
The host-pastor got up and in his message said that pastors are shepherds.
Our flock were the people in our congregation.
We are called by our Good Shepherd – Jesus Christ – to be his proxy shepherds here on earth.
And then he said something that will stick with me my whole life.
“Our flock need our guidance and help. Because they are like sheep – smelly and stupid.”
Looking back, I think I know what he meant. But I sure hope he never said these words to his flock!
I like to believe he meant that we are all “smelly” with sin and in need of a Savior. And that we are all “stupid” with original sin and cannot find our Savior on our own.
The Bible has many illustrations of us being sheep and God being our much-needed Shepherd.
Like sheep without a shepherd we can go astray, get lost, get hurt, and get hunted down by the devil (who is like a prowling lion – certainly an enemy of straying sheep).
Jesus identifies himself as the Good Shepherd who was sent to save us, his sheep.
Which could be part of the reason that the first announcement of his birth – aside from Jesus’ parents –is to shepherds.
Maybe people think that shepherds are often looked upon as being on the low end of society, that they are often out in the fields for days at a time and thus do not bathe often, and that they are loners – it’s usually just them and some sheep and maybe a dog.
But in reality, shepherds often worked in groups and were regarded as important to the economy as wage earners. They would work together to help others, not actually owning the sheep themselves.
It is to this group that the angel of the Lord announces the birth of the great shepherd of the sheep, Jesus Christ.
Like his ancestor David, Jesus would be a “Shepherd-King.” And the shepherds who heard this message can represent all those who would answer the calling of the Shepherd-King to take care of God’s flock!
We’ll explore how the shepherds received this news and what they did on Christmas morning.
©2016 True Men Ministries