I Need You Christmas: Learning from the shepherds.
To better understand the first Christmas we need to highlight the shepherds’ perspective. The shepherds, tending their sheep in the field, have become famous in the nativity story. In this message, we delve into why the shepherds played such a prominent role on that first Christmas. The story takes us right from the manger to the fields nearby, where an angel appeared to some terrified shepherds.
Something To Talk About:
- Shepherds were in the fields among smelly and not-so-bright sheep. They had no power or influence. They had nothing to bring the baby King. So why did God choose the lowest members of society to entrust the greatest truth of the ages?
- Why didn’t God choose the religious leaders? Surely they would have been excited after waiting for thousands of years to meet their Savior. Why not choose a king or a rich man whose testimony would have carried more weight? Why shepherds?
- One possible reason is that shepherds had the capacity to be humbled and amazed that God chose them to hear the news. Imagine how unworthy they must have felt, but how honored. Why not religious leaders? Religious people back when Jesus was born thought highly of themselves. They loved religion more than they loved a relationship with God. They probably wouldn’t have been very impressed that God chose to reveal the secret of the ages to them. In fact, they might have thought they deserved to hear the news first. But not the shepherds. They were amazed God chose them and they couldn’t keep it to themselves.
- A second possible reason God chose shepherds is the fact that after they had seen the baby Savior, they “spread the word” concerning what they knew. They didn’t over-think the situation and talk themselves out of telling the news. They were exuberant, overflowing with joy and probably still reflected a bit of the glory of being with Jesus. When those uneducated, simple shepherds spread the word that a Savior had been born, people were amazed!
- God in His infinite wisdom chose just the right group of people to entrust the greatest news of eternity. Those humble men took the Good News of Jesus and did just what God wanted them to do – told others, and their lives were never the same.
- What is your favorite part of Christmas?
- Come up with a list of people in our culture today who are looked down upon. Share why you think they have a negative reputation.
- Why do you think God first shared the good news of Jesus with a group of nobodies?
- Read Luke 2:13-14. Share how you think you would have reacted if millions of God’s angels broke out in the first Christmas chorus right before your eyes?
- Work with your group to come up with a practical definition of grace. Why is grace not explained in terms of an employer-employee or seller-buyer relationship? How is grace best explained through a giver-receiver relationship?
- Why is it easy to believe that we can earn God’s grace? Why is it so difficult to think we need grace especially if we are a pretty good person?
- Nobody ever brought the shepherds good news. Who brought you Jesus’ good news? Explain.
- Read Philippians 2:5-11. Share the great lengths Jesus was willing to go to come to earth to save us?
- God intentionally chooses the disfranchised to receive His good news. God can use you to reach others. What can you do so that you will be more willing to tell others?
- What will you do? How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned today?
Take one thing home with you:
“but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)
Nobody ever brought shepherds good news. God chose the shepherds to announce the birth of Christ to show the world He can use anyone. God doesn’t just love the somebodies, he also loves the nobodies. God’s good news isn’t just for the rich and famous, it’s also for the poor and forgotten.
What is the good news? The good news is that Jesus is here to forgive you and make a way to heaven. And this good news isn’t just for religious people, people in palaces, high places. It is for the “down and outer” as much as it is for the “up and comer.” This good news is to “all people.” It’s for you!