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Missionary Zeal


pexels-kailash-kumar-693776An Advent Devotional on Luke 2:8-21

Jesus’ birth announcement does not begin with: “In the same region scribes read the law and debated in the temple”. Nope. The angel of the Lord comes to shepherds watching over their flock (v. 8). To say that these men were unlikely recipients is an understatement.

First century Jewish shepherds were considered ignorant and untrustworthy. No judge would accept their testimony in court. They were rough around the edges and dutifully scraped the bottom of the social barrel.

So why the shepherds? The answer is not hard to miss. God’s generosity in Jesus is for every day, needy people. You do not need to pre-qualify. The lowly shepherds sure did not. No accolades, no accomplishments. Good chance these men were illiterate too. God handpicked individuals considered worthless in the eyes of the world and said: “My Son has arrived. For you” (v. 11).

This is Gospel grace. God seeks the ordinary and rejected and invites those who are aware of their need of the Savior. You and I are more like the shepherds than unlike them. We are perhaps more dignified on the outside, but on the inside, we are made of shepherd material: dirty, smelly, and unfit for heaven. Oh, how we need this Gospel grace ourselves!

In that dark night, the shepherds listened to an extraordinary message about an extraordinary child. This baby would be wrapped in cloths but carry divine names and titles: “Savior, Christ, Lord” (v. 11). God turned a simple manger into the Holy of Holies.

The shepherds took God at His word and made a beeline for Bethlehem (v.16). After seeing God’s miracle, they did not put up a shrine in the stable and offer tours. No, they left with hearts bursting at the seams with joy, and with burning missionary zeal (vs. 18,20). If you have met the Savior, how in the world can you keep this good news for yourself?