Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Lamb of God

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified" (Luke 2:8–9).

Shepherding is an unpleasant task because sheep are unpleasant and smelly creatures. Shepherds were not highly regarded in Israel, yet God had shown a special affection for them through the centuries. It was to an exiled Hebrew from the land of Egypt who was shepherding the flocks of a Midianite priest that God appeared in the burning bush (Exodus 3). It was a shepherd from Bethlehem that God called to become Israel’s greatest king (1 Samuel 16). The prophet Amos was also a shepherd.

It is most likely that these shepherds at Bethlehem were watching over flocks of sheep destined for the sacrificial altar in Jerusalem. Whether this is true or not, it was to the lowly shepherds that the angel of God appeared, not to the movers and shakers of Palestinian culture.

They were frightened at the appearance of this angel, but the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11). Notice that the angel did not say “a Savior has been born to a girl named Mary.” No, the Savior had been born to them.

This Savior was for them. He was their Savior. Like the sacrificial lambs of their flocks, He was born to them as their Lamb of God. He would be their Savior, their Deliverer. He would be the Christ, the Anointed One of God. He would be their Lord, their King, their New David. God wanted shepherds present at the birth of His Lamb, so the angel gave them directions how to find Him.

And now we find Luke’s third hymn, this time being sung by an army of angels: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” God has sent His Lamb. Let all the earth rejoice, for the Lord of Hosts is proclaiming peace to the world.

Just as we have seen God use obscure events and places, so He also appears to and uses obscure people. This was true throughout Jesus’ life and it is true today. Thank God today that He can use you right now regardless of your present situation.