The Shepherds of Christmas
The Shepherds of Christmas Have you ever wondered why God first proclaimed the birth of Jesus to a group of shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem? No doubt, the imagery of a loving shepherd caring for his sheep is a theme in several Scriptural accounts. The loving care of a shepherd for his sheep helps us understand the great love and compassion God has for us. He is our Shepherd Who supplies our needs (Psalm 23) and Jesus is the Good Shepherd Who laid down His life for us (John 10:11).
God is loving and merciful, but He is also just and holy. What did the angel declare about God when he appeared to the shepherds the night Jesus was born? The angel proclaimed this was the day the Savior of the world was born—the Christ, the Anointed One of God. Christ the Lord would save the people from the enmity between God and man. The angel declared that through the Savior “peace” was possible between God and the inhabitants of the earth. The angel also said that God’s heart is “good will toward men.”
How was this to be done? How could a baby bring peace between the eternal and perfect God and sinful man? The angel did not declare how, but proclaimed the finished work of the Savior’s life and death. Through faith in the Savior Who would live a sinless life and take upon Himself the sin of all people, peace between God and man could become a reality.
Let us not forget, that unless Jesus was born as a man, He could not live a sinless life as a man. If He did not live a sinless life as a man, He could not be the perfect sacrifice for man’s sins. If He did not take upon Himself our sins as the sacrificial Lamb to satisfy God’s wrath, each of us still would be in our sin. If we are still in our sin, we are condemned to hell without hope. We cannot save ourselves because God’s standard is perfection and we all have sinned (see Romans 3:23).
What a reason to rejoice! God loves you and me with a perfect love which is so great that He even saved us from our sin. He made it possible to be reconciled to Himself and have a spiritual relationship with Him. For a believer and follower of Jesus, God’s wrath for sin is abolished and the Holy Spirit works in us to set us free from lies of the devil and other yokes of bondage of sin.
No one can doubt God’s love; He proved it. “But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 AMP).
Let us remember during this season and throughout the year that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). “We love him, because he first loved us” (I John 4:19). And, as He loves us, we are to love one another (John 15:12), in a variety of tangible ways, including gifts. Take the time to reflect on the grace of God and the great salvation He has provided through faith in Jesus, Who at God’s perfect time in history was born in Bethlehem.