Luke 2:8-20

Father, thank You for Jesus and the life I have in Him!

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“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” (v 8 NIV)

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'” (John 1:29 NIV)

“I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep … I know My sheep and My sheep know Me … and I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:11, 14-15 NIV).

“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne … ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!'” (Rev 5:6, 12 NIV)

“We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth, He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:6-7 NIV)

People had been waiting for centuries for the coming of the Messiah.  When, finally, You brought this highly acclaimed deliverer, You chose to reveal the news to some ordinary shepherds.  Everything about Jesus was not always what people expected, but always what You had promised.

How fitting for shepherds to be the first to hear this wondrous news!  For Your Son, Jesus, would Himself be both the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God.  You were sending Him into this world to lead, guard, and care for us as a shepherd would each sheep (Psalm 23).  He also came to become the sacrificial lamb, which would be slaughtered once for all the sins of all people for all time (Heb 9:26-28; 10:10).

If Your purpose had been different, Lord, You might have announced this birth night to someone else.  If Your intention would’ve been to send Jesus merely to over throw Roman rule, You might have startled soldiers not shepherds.  If Your aim would’ve been to send Him to heal all our physical ailments, You might have aroused a bunch of doctors.  Yet You had different plans.

You knew our deeper need and had been planning since creation for meeting that need.  Through the Levitical priesthood, You established the practice of sacrificing a lamb as a means of atoning for sin.  You knew that our deepest need was not political freedom, physical healing, or the like.  Rather, You knew that we most needed to be freed from the clutches of sin, forgiven for our wrongs against You, and found to belong to You.

Thank You, Jesus, for being my Shepherd and for being that Lamb who died for me.  Amen.