22nd December 2017

The Shepherds of Bethlehem 

“Let us go straight to Bethlehem, and see this [wonderful] thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us
Luke 2:15 (AMP)

Did you know that there is a link between the Bethlehem shepherds and how Jesus, the unblemished and spotless Lamb of God, was sacrificed for us?

According to Jewish tradition, the shepherds in the fields at Bethlehem had a special task, which was to look after the sheep that would be used for sacrifices and burnt offerings in the Temple. In particular they had to look out for lambs that had spots or blemishes so that such lambs would not be used. Some scholars connect this story of the shepherds with passages in the Old Testament book of Micah, where we read of the “tower of the flock” between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, from which would come a ruler, the “One [the Messiah]” who “shall be our peace” (Micah 4:8; 5:2-5).

The shepherds were told by the angels to find the child lying in a manger, but for them to leave the sheep unattended in the fields would have been a dangerous thing to do. Not just because of the threat to the sheep of wild animals and of thieves, but also because the shepherds risked the wrath of the Temple authorities. Perhaps they left someone to look after the flock(s). Luke doesn’t record it if they did. All we know is that they agreed among themselves to go straight to Bethlehem to see the new-born, unblemished child of whom John would say, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

The shepherds were so excited about finding the baby Jesus that they told everyone they met. Then they returned to the flocks in the fields near Bethlehem, all the way “glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as it had been told them” (Luke 2:20).

Prayer
Father in heaven, thank you for the baby Jesus, our Saviour, and we join with the angels in praising him – ”Worthy and
deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing”(Revelation 5:12). In His name.
Amen
 

Study by James Henderson

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About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. This weekend James in speaking at our Northampton and Nottingham churches. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
james.henderson@gracecom.church
Or email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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