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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lessons from The Shepherds

Cade’s Cove, Tennessee (Great Smoky Mts.)

(Originally published Feb. 2012. Edited.)

Not long ago I started reading the book of Luke again.  John has been my favorite Gospel for some time now, but I’ve really been enjoying Luke more this time through it.  Not that I didn’t before, but the Lord has brought different things to my attention this time.  Maybe the new Bible helps since it isn’t all marked up with previous thoughts. :-)

Anyway, the thing that particularly stood out to me in Luke chapter 2 this time through was God’s revelation to the shepherds.  A number of things struck me, some I’d heard and thought of before.  Some seemed new, though it’s quite likely that I’d heard them at some point from someone.  I know they are not really “new”.

You might want to go read this passage in your King James Bible as it is rather long to post here, or you can read it on my husband's Bible page: Luke 2:8-20.

1. These shepherds were believers, of course.  They were looking for the Messiah or the Lord would not have revealed this wonderful news to them, nor would they have gone so quickly to see it for themselves.  It is interesting that so often it’s the people with simple, childlike faith who understand the great things God reveals, not the high and mighty scholars.  Luke 10:21  In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

2. We find the shepherds in the place where they were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to be doing – keeping watch over their flocks.  God doesn’t always reveal His great things to those who are in important places, nor to those who are doing supposedly big and important things.  This is a good reminder to be faithful where you are and not despise the day of small things (Zech. 4:10).

3. God first revealed the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20) to shepherds.  He revealed “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) to keepers of sheep, men who cared for lambs.  There is something particularly sweet and wonderful about that.

4. Because they were shepherds, they weren’t  too persnickety to go into a humble place where a messy, “unclean” event had just happened.  A manger was part of their natural sphere.  Maybe it was even their own manger!  Who knows. :-)  These men would have helped their ewes deliver lambs, no doubt.  Remember the story of the good Samaritan and how the priest and the Levite “passed by on the other side” rather than help a man who had been attacked by robbers.  Luke 10:30-33.  I can only imagine the response if one of them had been told to go to a manger to view a newly born baby.

5. They were quick to act upon the amazing revelation they had received.  They didn’t “sleep on it”.  They believed and went.

6. They spread the news.  These men were not afraid of what people might think.  People talk about women gossiping.  I suspect there was a reason that God reveal this event to the shepherds.  They may well have been the “news agency” of their day.  In meeting other shepherds from other areas out on the pastures, the news would have had a chance to spread farther.

7. They knew whom to glorify.  Luke 2:20  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

There are a lot of good applications here, but I’d like to condense it into a nutshell, so to speak.  We need to…
1. Be faithful in the “mundane” things of everyday life, and be where we are supposed to be.
2. Believe God’s revelation to us (His word) and then act upon it.
3. Spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
4. Glorify God and praise Him for the things He has revealed unto us.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.


  1. Those are great points and applications, Mary - thanks for sharing that! :)
    Dan's been reading through Luke in his personal Bible readings lately and finding it very interesting, noticing more than previously, too, so I found this very interesting that you've been doing the same thing!! :)

  2. Oh, how neat....about Dan reading through Luke at the same time I am. :-) That's a blessing. Makes me feel more connected to my far-away-brother. ;-)