Pastor Miles began today’s message with a powerful personal testimony. Shortly after he had prayed to accept Christ as a young man, as he was still struggling with the same sins that had entangled him before his salvation, one evening an Angelic being appeared to him. He could not see the being’s face, only earthly tones, a robe, and hair. He believes that the being was Jesus. Miles was speechless and powerless to move. The being did not speak, but went away without saying anything. Miles got up to tell his girlfriend who was in the kitchen, but realized she probably wouldn’t believe him anyway, so he kept the experience to himself. Yet the whole time, he wondered, “Who am I that God would appear to me?”
In this same way, two thousand years ago, some lowly shepherds were in a field caring for their sheep (Luke 2:8). These men were at the low end of the social ladder. The Egyptians despised shepherds as rude, nomadic barbarians. In the Jewish culture, shepherds were considered ceremonially unclean and were looked down on by religious men because their lifestyle prevented them from observing religious rituals. In fact, in these times, if someone were studying to be a rabbi, he was forbidden to be a shepherd. And yet, an angel suddenly appeared to speak directly to these shepherds about the coming of the Messiah.
1. Lowlifes gladly accept the invitation to meet the Savior. Luke 2:15
Pastor Miles clarified his use the term “lowlifes” not to degrade the shepherds, but simply to say that shepherds were low on the totem pole, far from revered or respected men. Why would they be called? Why were they important? These are the same questions Miles asked about himself when an Angel appeared to him.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus continually reached out to those considered low and cast aside by their society.
The answer is: they were nobodies. But Jesus made them and valued them. Throughout His ministry, Jesus continually reached out to those considered low and cast aside by their society.
The message they heard was important to them in many ways. The Messiah was not born in a palace or a mansion, but a common home. The baby was wrapped in swaddling clothes, just as a poor shepherd’s child would be. He is lying in a manger, the very type where their animals would eat. And most importantly, they themselves, lowly shepherds, were invited to come and meet this King. (By the way, it’s one thing to be invited, but it’s another to accept the invitation. God loves everybody, but that doesn’t mean everyone will go to heaven. Only those who accept His free gift of love and salvation will be saved. )
Christ came to give invitation not just to the privileged and wealthy, but to the common people, people with issues—sinners like us.
2. Lowlifes are accepted by the Savior. Luke 2:16
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Luke 2:15-16
When these excited shepherds arrived at their destination, desiring to see the King, they were not turned away. They were accepted inside to meet Jesus. This is the message of Christ: it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or who you are. If you want to be with Jesus, HE will accept you.
Do you think you don’t deserve the love of God? You don’t! That’s why it’s called grace, because it is unmerited. The minute you think you have earned it and you’re good enough, you have lost sight of His holiness and the miracle of His unmerited favor toward you.
God wants you to be His child and a conqueror, not a victim. So He came in the lowliest of circumstances so that there would be no mistake of who He is. He wants to be able to identify even with the lowliest, common sinner, and draw that person to Himself.
3. Lowlifes brag about the Savior. Luke 2:20
How often do you talk about Jesus?
Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2:17-18
For years and years, the shepherds had been in charge of tending the lambs to be the Passover sacrifice, but their job was finally over. The ultimate perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God, had come, once for all. So God’s announcement went to these shepherds first.
The lowly shepherds, having witnessed the appearance of angels and greeted the newborn heavenly Messiah, were so excited and amazed that they couldn’t help but share their experience. Do you have this holy awe, amazement, and excitement over who Jesus is? He is worth your awe! If you every meet Him face to face, you will not be able to contain your worship. There will be no yawning in boredom. But whether we see Him or not, He is still the Most High, the Lamb of God, worthy of all our praise and adoration. Whom can you tell about Him today?