This past summer a waterline broke on my farm. Since I don’t know much about plumbing, I called a plumber.
If I were good at plumbing then I wouldn’t have needed a plumber. Since I am not good at plumbing, I needed a plumber.
You may not realize it, but I just described Christmas.
If I were good at being righteous, I would not need a Savior. Since I am not, I need one.
God sent us what we need the most, a Savior. If we needed something else more, He would have sent something else.
But we need a Savior, so that’s what He sent. If we were good at being righteous, He would not have sent a Savior.
Why do you think God made the first announcement about the birth of Jesus to shepherds?
Shepherds were not religious. They were not righteous. They were not able to leave their sheep, come into town and attend religious services.
They were outside of the society…And they didn’t smell all that great. Shepherds were ordinary men just trying to make a living.
And that is the ragtag bunch God first chose to hear the broadcast of Jesus’ birth.
Aside from the fact that the angel of the Lord scared the bejeebers out of the shepherds, they soon rejoiced and scurried off to Bethlehem to see for themselves.
8 Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to ALL THE PEOPLE: 11 Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger. 17 When they saw him, they related what they had been told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were astonished at what the shepherds said.19 But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean.20 So the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told. (Luke 2:8-20 ESV)
Shepherds. Rugged. Non-righteous. Smelly. Outcast. Shepherds.
Not religious teachers. Not successful businessmen. Not the educated.
God chose shepherds to be the first to hear the good news.
So again, why shepherds? Because they represent ordinary, non-religious people.
They were aware of their lack of righteousness. They didn’t need to be convinced that they needed a Savior.
So as soon as they heard the announcement, they were all in.
In contrast, the high-society, wise men did not show up until two years after the birth of Jesus.
They never saw Him in the manger. They saw Him after He moved to a house (Matthew 2:11).
Only the shepherds got to see Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the barn.
Are you lousy at being righteousness on your own? Are you just a normal person trying to make a living?
Do you sometimes feel like you are outside of the religious structure looking in?
I have some good news. God sent you what you need: a Savior.
And that’s the Christmas story.