Gosh I love the shepherds in Luke. I could probably blog about them all month (but I really shouldn’t).
In a sermon I heard recently, Simon Manchester connected shepherds throughout The Bible with kings. His rationale being that King David, one of the greatest ancient Jewish Kings, was, by trade, a shepherd.
There’s lots of shepherd and sheep imagery in The Bible also. Of all the systematic ideas that flow through The Bible, shepherds is a strong and consistent one.
Rewind to David, back as a shepherd boy before his kingly days. The prophet, Samuel has come to Jesse, David’s father and Samuel knows that he is going to anoint one of these sons as the future king.
And this is what happens:
Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
David arrives and Samuel is told by God he’s now got the right man. David, we are told, was good looking, but other sons of Jesse were more impressive in height and stature (according to Samuel). However, this is not God’s way:
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
Fast forward to David’s successors, living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Like David, they too are given a task: to find the Christ child.
Much like in The Amazing Race, the shepherds are given a clue: find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
And it’s here we see what the shepherds are truly like: those with open hearts, ready to respond.
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.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
They heard. They believed. They went. They saw. They told others.
There’s nothing more you need to do. The shepherd’s are the exemplar response at Christmas time.
Yours giving credit where credit’s due,