Tuesday, December 21, 2021

You Are Invited

Tuesday, December 21, 2021    

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 

Luke 2:8-11 


The Least Likely To Be Invited

The King of Kings is finally here! The most noble and holy and pure and righteous human being has been born. Who is the first to know? You might think it would be kings, nobility, dignitaries, the most important people. But God chose some of the most lowly of people to be the first to know – the Shepherds. 

From Shepherds: The Forgotten Ones

Shepherds were often, if not perpetually, in contact with the remains of dead animals, rendering them ceremonially unclean in accordance with the Law of Moses. Being ceremonially unclean prohibited the shepherds from entering the temple and worshiping God. Therefore, if you could not go to the temple, you could not worship God because they believed the presence of God dwelled in the temple.  So, the shepherds lived in this spiritual dilemma. Due to this dilemma, it is easy to see how shepherds were looked down on in their culture. Always unclean, absent from the temple, and cut off from the presence of God; shepherds were always on the outside looking in. These unclean men, guilty under the law, were chosen by God to be the first people to meet His perfectly spotless Lamb who would be the ultimate sacrifice for their sins, as well as ours.

I can imagine what they were doing out in the field that night. Maybe discussing their families, the problems they were having with their teenagers. Maybe they were planning to go out after they were done working. Maybe they were particularly busy that night - or particularly slow. Whatever they were doing, they were completely unsuspecting of what was going to happen. Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared telling them Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And then… the whole sky lit up and And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased. Luke 2:13-14

This is only the second time in the whole Bible that a group of angels - rather than one angel - had appeared, proving that they had a very important message to give to them. As soon as the angels left, the Shepherds went straight to the manger:

When the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem, then, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen Him, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it were amazed about the things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2:15 - 18

You Are Invited...

So, the King of Kings is born, and first ones to know about Him and to visit his manger are the Shepherds. This should not be lost on any of us! The most unsuspecting, and some of the lowliest of people were given the honor of His first moments on earth. The lesson here is that Jesus came for the Shepherds. He came for everyone, but He wanted those who thought they were “not worthy enough” to even go to church to have the very first announcement and visitation. Such an honor. He gives us the same, as unworthy, and lowly as we can be. He came for us and He loves us just as we are. He gives us the same invitation the Shepherds received. We are invited into His very presence, to honor and worship Him – a gift for Him. And He gives us the gift of salvation and eternal life. So next time you feel like the "least likely" to be chosen for something, remember that you already have been chosen by the most Holy King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You have been chosen, loved, valued, redeemed, restored, and invited to the manger every day. Don't ignore this invitation. God promises us salvation when we accept His invitation, but He doesn't promise us tomorrow.  Accept it now, the greatest gift ever given to mankind.

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.  Acts 4:12

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