Saturday, December 26, 2020

Finding Our Shepherd - King

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In many places in the Old Testament we find “types” of Jesus, literally, other Bible characters whose lives reflect all or part of the life of Jesus and His ministry. As we learn from our reading today, David the son of Jesse was anointed to take the Throne of Israel at a young age. Jesus was destined to take the Throne of David, which was to be an everlasting Throne (Psalm 93:2 “Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.”)

It was many years before David was actually installed on Israel’s Throne to rule and lead the nation. Saul, the King at the time had lost favor with the Lord, and God sent the Prophet Samuel to anoint David in Saul’s place. David was anointed to be King while he was a lad tending his father’s sheep. If this sounds familiar, it should, for Jesus has been tending the flocks of His Father for centuries, and it is still a yet future date when Jesus will take the Throne of His earthly ancestor David, in Jerusalem.

In today’s main text, we learn of the shepherds tending their flocks by night outside of Bethlehem. The Angel of the Lord appears to them and told them of tidings of great joy. The shepherds headed in from the fields and found this infant-King, just as the Angel had told them, laying in a manger, and wrapped in swaddling clothes.

For Jesus, like David, it would be many years before He began His public ministry, and at the age of 30, He began to choose His Apostles, and they followed Him as He traveled throughout Israel teaching people the words of His Father, the way they were meant to be taught, learned, and lived.

And it was three years later that Jesus directs Peter to feed His lambs, feed His sheep, and again, feed His sheep.

Jesus is our eternal shepherd, and we are the flocks of His pasture!
“And ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”   Jeremiah 29:13

Today's Audio Message: "Finding Our Shepherd-King" - Luke 2:1-24

If ever there was an opportunity for God to enact his plan with a majestic flourish, it was at Jesus' birth. But God did not presume upon humanity when he stepped in to redeem it. There was no pretense in this arrival. Rather, God chose to identify in the humblest way with those made in his image. God’s own Son made His appearance on earth in the lowliest of circumstances. This humble birth conveys an amazing message to creation: the transcendent God condescended to come to us. Instead of coming to earth as a pampered, privileged ruler, Jesus was born in meekness, as one of us. He is approachable, accessible, available—no palace gates bar the way to Him; no ring of guards prevents our approach. The King of kings came humbly, and His first bed was a manger. It was quite a contrast to the birth of John the Baptist whose birth was announced in the capital, at the temple, in the center of the Jewish nation.

Jesus arrives in rural anonymity, yet it is Jesus' birth that draws an angelic host. Once again, appearances are deceiving. As humble as the setting is, his birth is accompanied by the attention of the heavenly host. The shepherds who are privileged to share in the moment become bearers of a story full of wonder.

The shepherds have the type of response any of us should have as we contemplate these events. Their curiosity leads them to go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened. As they see God's word honored in the presence of the sign, they come to testify to God's work and tell the story of the child. Mary depicts the wonder of experiencing the inbreaking of God in her life. She pondered these things in her heart. The audience to the shepherds' report were amazed. Their response exemplifies the awe that should fill anyone who hears Jesus' story.

In addition, there is the shepherds' glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen. This birth is no mere arrival of a new life, as poignant as each such event is. The story is not told so that hearers can identify with the new mother and father or enjoy a story of hope, of a touching birth in humble surroundings. This birth has value because of whose birth it is. The shepherds have found that the angel's words were true, that events have transpired just as they had been told. God's word is coming to pass; his plan is again strategically at work. They break out in praise to God because he has sent Jesus, the Savior, Lord and Christ.

Jesus is our Shepherd-King. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the one who will sit on the throne of David forever. He is The Son of David, the expected One, and He comes to set His people free from their yoke of bondage. He is the One with authority over us, yet He is a gentle and never forces His way into our lives. He is the One Who told the believers in Revelation 3:20 that He stands at the door, knocking and waiting for them to open the doors of their hearts and let Him come in and fellowship with them.


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