Saturday, December 24, 2011

Shepherds, Dung Sweepers, Tax Collectors, and Women

The following are excerpts from the book Come Thou, Long Expected Jesus.

'No Christmas program is complete without its little band of gunnysack shepherds. Frightened by the angel’s sudden appearance, they marvel at the good news from the angel and rush to Bethlehem to see the Savior-King. As they return to their flocks, they praise God and tell all who will listen about the birth of the chosen Child.

They finish spreading the good tidings, leave the stage, and we hardly give them another thought.But why did the announcement come to them at all? Why not to priests and kings? Who were they that they should be eyewitnesses of God’s glory and receive history’s greatest birth announcement? In Christ’s day, shepherds stood on the bottom rung of the Palestinian social ladder. They shared the same unenviable status as tax collectors and dung sweepers.' - Randy Alcorn

'In the incarnation, the annunciation comes to a woman. God penetrates the world through the womb of a poor, unwed, Jewish, teenage girl. The first theological reflection group trying to wrap their minds around this to figure out what this means and what is going on is Mary and Elizabeth.

We know that in those days women had a very, very low status. They were marginalized and oppressed. For example, we know that a woman's testimony was not admissible in court. Why? Because of prejudice against women.'  - Tim Keller

God first appeared to the poor, the downtrodden, the despised. Unlike us, God is not a respecter of persons, i.e. He's not impressed by people or 'status.' Scripture reminds us that we are ALL born in sin, we are all hopelessly lost but for the love and grace of God. We are all on a level playing field - at the very, very bottom, 'dead in trespasses and sins.'   Like Lazarus dead in the tomb, there is nothing we can to do save ourselves, nothing we can possibly do to merit our salvation.

Romans 3:23: For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. 
Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death - but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

BUT, while we were yet sinners, God, in His great love for us, made a way for us to be reconciled to Himself. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, died for us, paying the penalty for our sin, and giving  HIS righteousness to all who trust in Him.

'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.' John 3: 16-18

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

May you have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the birth of our Savior, our only hope.



J_on_tour said...

A masterly presentation.
It is difficult to understand how the Creator of the Universe should choose people "on the bottom rung" but that shows that we all have an opportunity. Then again when we consider the parable of the Wedding feast, we can understand the " not many mighty .... " principle.
Have a lovely day tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Hi Judy,
Thank you for sharing this story :) and reminder.
Have a fantastic day tomorrow at Christmas Day my friend!
Big hugs x

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas, love you.


Related Posts with Thumbnails