by: Matt Levett
I wonder what that First Christmas looked like for the first visitors to Jesus - for the shepherds and Kings?!
The Bible tells us that the Shepherds were in the hills outside the city, looking after their flocks when an angel came and spoke to them “Do not be afraid. Today a Saviour is born. Christ the Lord. He will be found lying in a manger” And the shepherds came down from the hills. They hurried down. They ran to meet the Good news.
Shepherds were nobodies in the social structure of the ancient near East. They weren’t allowed to testify in the courts of law because their testimony was considered unreliable. Shepherds were deemed to be unreliable, crafty and dishonest. They had no formal education couldn’t read or write – thus they couldn’t read the scriptures. They were thought of as dirty, ignorant, lowest of the low.
The Shepherds who looked after the flocks on the hills. The flocks of sheep used as sacrifices every day. Sacrifices the priests used to try to atone for the sins of the people. A costly but largely ineffectual system. The Shepherds weren’t expecting Jesus that night. It was a shock but they heard the Good News and ran towards it, and it transformed their lives. They brought all they had with them – a lamb. A sacrificial lamb for the sacrificial lamb. A gift to bow down and worship.
And later came the wise men or kings. In marked total contrast to the shepherds. The opposite in the social hierarchy. These men were the top layer. The rich. The elite. The celebrities. And they were expectant. They’d been looking and waiting for someone like Jesus all their lives. And they travelled far with expensive gifts to bow down and worship.
Two more different people could not be imagined. Shepherd’s and Kings. But what brought them together were hearts ready to worship. To give up their lives into Jesus’ hand. Those first visitors to Jesus tell us something important and profound about who He is.
Jesus comes for all.
For the expectant and the unexpectant.
For rich and poor.
For the educated and uneducated.
For the needy and the unneedy.
For the powerful and the powerless.
For the celebrity and the unknown.
For those who have thought about Him often and for those who never have.
For you and for me.
And what he wants from us? Simply for us to come to Him. Ready to bow down and worship.