Friday, May 3, 2013
Friday, 3 May 2013 ~ Roxie
Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Sam 7, 8; Psalm 89; John 21
Today's scripture focus is Luke 2:15-21
Monday's scripture focus: Luke 2:21-24
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Sam 9, 10
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
I find it incredible that, after having the tar scared out of them, the shepherds still had the presence of mind to say, “Hey guys! Let’s go see what happened!!” Would I have still been shaking in my boots...or sandals, as the case might be?
Miriam wrote about the shepherds yesterday. They were the lowest rung in a society that had started as shepherds, whose greatest king had been a shepherd. Now uneducated, poor and smelly, they are chosen to be the ones to hear the birth announcement of the Messiah. What made God choose this group? Not for their social connections. Not for the donations they would make to the little Saviour’s cause.
A book I once read (First Light, it was fictional, so take this with a grain of salt...or open your imagination), talked a lot about the Shepherds of Israel. The Thoene’s wrote about how there were certain shepherds that took care of very special flocks, the flocks from which the temple sacrifices were often chosen. These men probably would have known temple procedure quite well and maybe also the prophecies regarding sacrifice and the Messiah. These men would have definitely known “flawlessness” in their little lambs, but they also would have seen many, many of their little lambs slaughtered for the sins of their people. Lambs that they raised and rescued and cared for. These shepherds were waiting for something better. Ready for something better.
And here, that better was announced to them, the Shepherds, by a multitude of angels. Abandoning their flocks to fend for themselves, these shepherds raced off to seek out the truth behind the message of the angels. With ready and eager hearts, they hurried to find the new family...as poor and animal smelling as they were themselves.
These shepherds, dirty, smelly, poor, uneducated, looked down upon by society “spread the word”...how does a shepherd who stays out in the field, separate from society talk to anyone but the other shepherds? He doesn’t, but the excited, amazed shepherds who just had to tell someone what happened stayed away from their flocks long enough to spread the news about baby Jesus...and the angelic birth announcement. Unlikely evangelists, but ones whose hearts were ready for God to move.
Mary treasured these things in her heart. How many other visitors showed up saying, “Those crazy shepherds were in town, for Pete’s sake, and they told me this even crazier story...they’ve never talked to me before, so I needed to come see if they were telling the truth.” So the story spread, the shepherds went back to their work, hearts maybe just a little lighter, knowing that the Messiah had come. The Saviour of the people was close by...and the angels had come to them...hope was renewed in these few downtrodden and maybe many more because of the story told by mere shepherds.