Friday, January 10, 2014

Herald to the Unloved and the Unwanted:

Herald to the Unloved and the Unwanted:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 
Luke 2:8-15 (KJV)

As Christians, we all know the story. Christmas was last month so why write about it now? The question comes up, “Why did the Lord chose shepherds to announce the birth of our King too?” It would make more sense to announce the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, to the Kings of the land. To the religious leaders of the temple. Why shepherds?

At the time, shepherds were the lowest of the low when it came to society's standards. Because of their job, they would have to be in the fields for weeks and even months at a time. Therefore the religious authorities consider shepherds ceremonial unclean. They were not even considered lower class. They were the bottom class of all classes. Because of their job they could not participate in Jewish traditions or the 613 laws of the Sanhedrin, better known as the Mosaic Law. Shepherds could not even testify in court because they were considered thieves and untrustworthy. They were the unloved, the unwanted, the rejected, the outcasts of society.

How often as Christians or not, do we feel unwanted, unloved, rejected and turned away as an outcast? It hurts especially when the rejection comes from one(s) we love and trust. Rejection from a friend or when even you find yourself rejected by the very church you needed help from. As Uncle Si would say, “That is rejection, Jack!”

These shepherds did not just experience it. They had to live with it day after day. We too see it daily, if we would just open our eyes and hearts. I see it every time I go to Walmart. The sales clerk, checking out hundreds of people a day with few if any acknowledging their name. Which could be easily read on their name badge. Lonely souls at a bar trying to drown their misery and pull up joy for a fleeting moment. I see it in the eyes of others in a crowd. Their eyes tell of the sadness dwelling inside. Feelings of doubt, rejection and just feeling unloved. While trying their best just to fit in the now.

So why did the Lord chose the shepherds to announce or “Herald” the coming of our King?

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 
Romans 10:9-13 (NIV)

Notice in verse 13. The word “Everyone.” Jesus came for everyone. Not just the ones who think they have their act together. Not the ones of authority over others. Everyone. That means you and that means me.

Jesus said to them, “I assure you: In the Messianic Age, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children, or fields because of My name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Matt 19:28-30 (HCSB)

This is a warning that we all must come to grips with. The first will be last. We all want to be first. First in charge. First to finish the race. First in line to receive. We want to be number one which is the exact opposite of the 1st Commandment. Being last is hard. Being unloved and unwanted by others is very hard to deal with. I like what Pastor Rick Warren once said, “ I fear God's disapproval more than I fear yours or society's.”

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