“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” – Luke 2:20
Scripture reading: Luke 2:8-20
If we understood the place of a shepherd in New Testament Israel, we might wonder why God would choose to send angels to them. Shepherds were the lowest class. Their occupation, including the need to range sheep over long distances in the dry season, meant they could not keep the Sabbath as the Pharisees expected. Some ancient sources say that their testimony was not allowed to be used in a court of law, as they were considered unreliable and incapable of giving an accurate account.
Once again, we see that the gospel account would not appeal to certain people. “…not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26). Imagine then the effect of their testimony on the surrounding communities. Would they be mocked? Perhaps they would be treated as those who claim to have seen supernatural sights in our day? It would take faith to believe them! These shepherds are the start of a longer storyline. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, his followers would include converted sinners, tax-collectors, and zealots. The first witness to his resurrection would be Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons (Mark 16:9).
When we bring the glorious message of the gospel, we should not be surprised if we are counted as fools. We are in lowly company when we believe in the virgin birth, the cross and the resurrection! And yet, this is the most glorious message to witness.
Suggestion for prayer
Pray for someone who is too proud or “wise” to hear the gospel message.
Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel.