Imagine keeping watch over a flock of sheep all day and night for weeks then months as the Shepherds did outside of Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. Not holding much favor or value with the people, maybe because they were away most of the time, and kind of smelly. Then, suddenly get visited by an angel. I am picturing a very quiet, dark night, since there were no street lights, just the stars in the sky. Then out of no where, in the middle of an open field, An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Luke 2:9
Why would they be terrified? I’ve often wondered. Who wouldn’t want to see an angel of the Lord? Then, when we think of where this angel comes from, and Who’s presence he abides in, (God the Father and Creator of heaven and earth), it’s no longer difficult to understand the fear one could and would most likely feel in their presence.
Just think about how you react when you see a police man. Right away you feel guilty, because you know you probably did something you shouldn’t have done, and now you are wondering if you’ve been caught. That’s because a police man holds authority over you, and just being in his presence creates fear and doubt in yourself. How much more would that feeling be, being in the presence of an angel of the Lord?
“Don’t be afraid”, the angel says to the Shepherd’s. The first words that are often spoken when an angel appears to someone in the Bible. Words that assure the listener that God brings comfort to the spirit and peace to the soul to the one who hears and believes in Him. The kind of peace that only He can bring to a condemning heart. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts. . . Matthew 15:19 Isn’t that ironic, that the very thing that makes us want to run away from the Lord, (the sin in our hearts) is what caused Him to come to us.
The Shepherds would have been very much aware of this problem of sin in our hearts, since that is exactly why they had the job that they did. Some of the sheep that they watched over were used for morning sacrifices and burnt offerings to make atonement for the sins of the people. No one was without fault, all had sinned, we all like sheep have gone astray says Isaiah 53:6. So the people needed a peace offering between us and God. Being a Shepherd was a lonely, and probably unthankful job, but God had chosen them to make this beautiful announcement of good news, that will cause great joy for all the people. The good news that a Savior had been born. . . He is Christ the Lord! Luke 2:11 A Savior that would save the people from their sin.
This was great news for the Shepherds! No longer would they need to provide a sacrifice for sins because God Himself had sent One. No longer would a peace offering need to be made on behalf of the people toward God because He had sent One, Christ the Lord. Therefor, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law if the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1,2
God loves the unloved, the outcast, the unvalued and the rejected. I believe that is why He sent His angle to tell the Shepherds of this miraculous news. So that the world would know forever that this news, God’s gift to us wasn’t just for royalty or the supper rich, it was for all.
Merry Christmas from all of us at CEF!
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.