Weekend, December 9, 2023

The Lowest of the Low

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:15 NLT)

When we think of shepherds today, we have a positive image of them. After all, Moses was a shepherd. David was a shepherd. And the Bible compares Jesus to a shepherd.

But in first-century Israel, a shepherd was about the lowest someone could be on the social ladder. The only thing lower were people with leprosy. Yet God chose to announce the good news of Christ’s birth to the shepherds.

Jesus always seemed to find His way to the outcasts of society. There was the Samaritan woman who had been married and divorced five times and was living with a man. She was such an outcast that she didn’t have a friend in town. And that is why she went to the well to draw water during the hottest part of the day.

Yet who was waiting there for her one afternoon? Jesus. And He wanted to have a conversation with her.

Then there was Zacchaeus, the tax collector. He was a Jew who worked for Rome. Thus, he was thought of as a turncoat, a traitor. He didn’t have a friend in the world. Yet Jesus took time for him.

When Jesus walked by, He looked up at Zacchaeus in a tree and called him by name. Then He said, “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today” (Luke 19:5 NLT).

There was the woman who had been caught in the act of adultery and was thrown down at Christ’s feet. The religious leaders were ready to kill her. But Jesus stooped down and wrote something in the sand. Then He stood up and said, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7 NLT).

The Bible says they all slipped away one by one, starting with the oldest, until only the woman was left. Jesus said, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” (verse 10 NLT).

She replied, “No, Lord.”

So Jesus said to her, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more” (John 8:11 NLT).

Jesus always had time for people like this. Therefore, it’s only fitting that the angels announced His birth to the lowest of the low: the shepherds. In the dark world of the first century, the Good News came to them.

Luke’s Gospel tells us, “That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. . . . They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!’ ” (2:8-11 NLT).

God sent His Son to die on the cross and rise again from the dead so that we could live life to its fullest on earth and then live forever in eternity in Heaven. It is the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. That is the real gift of Christmas that we all need.

Copyright © 2023 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

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