Friday, December 22, 2017

Shepherds Chosen

The next day John seeth Jesus coming to him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:27).

Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations in the Bible. Adam and Eve's son, Abel, was a shepherd. Other biblical shepherds include Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, Amos, and David. It started over 5,000 years ago in Asia Minor; and sheep became a mainstay of the region, providing meat, dairy products, and wool.

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young (Isaiah 40:11).

At first, shepherds were respected. However, the Egyptians hated shepherds, and after 400 years of slavery in Egypt, this idea stuck with the Hebrews. After all, shepherds were rarely able to follow all the Jewish rules and regulations. For example, they couldn't properly keep the Sabbath and be out tending their flocks. The sheep depended too much on the shepherd for him to leave them, and he would usually have to travel beyond the forbidden distance on the Sabbath.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid (Luke 2: 8-9).

So by New Testament times, shepherds occupied the bottom rung of society, along with tax collectors and dung shovelers. Yet, shepherds are mentioned often in the Bible, and Jesus is called "The Good Shepherd." And it was to these lowly people that God chose to first announce the birth of His Son - the Messiah and our Savior. The angels appeared to the shepherds in their field and they hurried to see the Christ child for themselves and worship Him. Then they went about telling everyone they saw the glorious news: "For unto you is born in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord!" 

 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep (John 10:11).



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