Luke 2:15-20 (NKJV)
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
Thoughts from Leslie
Notice in this passage that God deliberately announces the birth of Jesus first to shepherds. The shepherds in this area raised sheep for a very specific purpose. The sheep that these shepherds raised and cared for were not the type of sheep used for ordinary purposes. The shepherds working there took care of the temple-flocks, which were actually the sheep meant for sacrifice. These particular shepherds were the ones who received this divine message. God sent His angels to announce to these specific shepherds that Jesus had just been born. Jesus would be the ultimate sacrificial Lamb. The shepherds in charge of raising sacrificial lambs would one day soon not have to see their beloved flocks sacrificed any longer. They were told by a heavenly that The Lamb of God had been born ! This Perfect Lamb of God would one day soon be offered as the ultimate, permanent sacrifice! As we read and study these verses this week, let's allow ourselves to see the gift of Jesus for what He ultimately is: Our Perfect Sacrificial Lamb!
Lambs were an important part of the worship of God. God will not be around sin. Because we have are all sinned, God will not allow us to draw close to Him without covering our sin first. God deeply desired to be close to each and every one of us, so from the very beginning of time, He provided ways for us to temporarily cover our sins. The Bible teaches us that the blood of an innocent animal must be shed in order for our sins to be covered and ultimately forgiven. (Hebrews 9:22) In the Old Testament the blood of lambs was used to cover sins.
The shedding of innocent blood took place very early on. When sin first entered the world in the Garden of Eden an innocent animal lost its life so Adam and Eve could be clothed. This was the very first time God required the shedding of blood as a symbol to cover sin. Genesis 3:21
Many years later, on the night that God delivered His people from slavery in Egypt He required that every family take care of a lamb for fourteen days. On the fourteenth day they were to kill the lamb. The blood from that lamb was then put on the doorposts of their homes. Then when the death angel went through their villages that night he would pass over the homes that had blood on the doorposts. Through the innocent blood of the lamb, the family living inside would not lose their life. Exodus 12
A little later in the Bible when God’s people were living in the desert, Moses was given instructions to build a Tabernacle. This tabernacle would be a place where the children of God could go to worship. In the tabernacle there was a room called the Most Holy place. It was in the Most Holy place that the High Priest would take the blood of animals and offer it to God as a covering for the sin of the people. (Leviticus 16)
God allowed the blood of innocent lambs to be shed so the sins of people could be covered. This was done throughout the Old Testament. The people may not have understood it at the time but each time a lamb lost his life it was symbolic picture of the Savior God promised to send who would shed His blood so every person could have their sins removed and forgiven for all eternity. This Lamb would only have to die once so our sins could be completely removed. Hebrews 9:11-14
Since the time of Adam and Eve, God’s people had been waiting for the promised Savior. Each year many lambs lost their lives so the people could have their sins covered. This is where the job of a shepherd came in. Taking care of the lambs used as sacrifices was the job of shepherds. This was an important job whether people looked down on shepherds or not. Imagine how much the shepherds loved the little lambs and made sure they were safe from dangerous wolves and bears. Shepherds lived among the sheep so they could be cared for and safe.
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
sudden passion filled motion; speed; swiftness;; expedition; applied only to voluntary beings, as men and other animals.
The shepherds heard where baby Jesus was, and they traveled in haste to both see Him and to be near to Him.
We have a decision to make during this holiday season, are we going to move in haste to intentionally draw closer to our loving Jesus,
or are we going to allow ourselves to get caught up in all of the other minute details of the season and not ever actually make it to the "manger"?
Jesus is beckoning for us to draw near to Him today with the same haste as these shepherds had.
- Moving closer to Jesus requires action on our part. What actions do you plan on doing today to move closer to your loving Savior?
- The people that heard about the birth of Our Messiah marveled ( which can be a temporary thing) , (verse 19) But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart (which is a more permanent- life changing thing). Do you take the time to ponder what you read in God's Word? How does creating the art each week and completing the reflection writing help you?
- When the shepherds returned from seeing baby Jesus they praised God for what they had see. What do you do on a daily basis to praise God? What are some things you could add to your daily routine?