December 16, 2008

Shepherds Who Are Missionaries

Luke 2:8-18

They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child …
Luke 2:17


David, the king who had led the nation of Israel to greatness a thousand years earlier, spent much of his boyhood as a shepherd in the fields around Bethlehem. While he was leading his father’s flocks into hills and valleys, he witnessed firsthand how a shepherd’s care is a fitting picture of God’s care for his people. He summarized with imagery in a song he wrote, saying, “The Lord is my shepherd . . .” (Psalm 23:1).

Ten centuries after David, other shepherds were in those fields outside Bethlehem. And one night they were met by a chorus of magnificent angels! One of the angels spoke of a baby, born in the town of David, a child who was Christ the Lord. The other angels, with voices that exploded into the night, cried out: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” God was still shepherding his people! And now he would begin doing that through a baby in a manger who would become a Savior on a cross.

Later, after seeing the child, the shepherds at Bethlehem became the Lord’s first missionaries, spreading the word about all that had happened. God sent to the citizens of Bethlehem shepherds—people trained in the art of tending clueless, helpless animals. The lowly shepherds of Bethlehem announced the arrival of the Good Shepherd from heaven.

Thank you, God, for the One born to be the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep. We are so often like sheep—clueless and helpless apart from you. Amen.

About the author — David Den Haan

Pastor Dave Den Haan has served at Fairway Christian Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan, since 1999. Previously he served a church in Minnesota. Dave and his wife, Connie, have three children.

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