In India’s history, there was a time in which their society was made up of castes, or social classes. There became four primary castes and the people in them would identify strongly with their caste, shunning people in any other caste. Even still, the lowest were the people who didn’t belong to any caste. These people were the outcasts.
In the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherds were the outcasts of society. They were the lowest of the low, spending their time with smelly sheep day in and day out, and yet it was to the shepherds that God chose to make known the good news of Jesus’ birth to first.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” (Luke 2:10-11, 15)
Can you imagine being an outcast and having a whole host of angels appear telling you that they have good news of the Messiah who would be for ALL people? The feeling of rejection by people, to inclusion by God. The feeling of being kept in the dark by people, to an appearing of great light and a life-changing message from God. The feeling of loneliness among people, to the offering of friendship with God.
The thing is, whether we have a whole host of friends or not, we are all outcasts. Our sin separates us from God and Jesus Messiah is the only one by whom we can be reconciled. It doesn’t matter if you have been a follower of Jesus for many years, you still sin and that sin still separates you in your relationship with God. Regular confession and receiving His forgiveness is needed to maintain a close and intimate relationship with God; not unto repeated salvation, because Jesus’ work on the cross was enough, but unto a continual right standing relationship with Him, in which there is true freedom, a clean conscience, and a refining and sanctifying work being done.
The shepherds heard the good news, left everything, and walked to Jesus. They were changed by the message they heard enough to walk.
How is your walk with God? Are you in right standing with Him today? How long has it been since you confessed your sins to God, both the intentional and unintentional sins? Do you need to take time to confess and receive His forgiveness and walk in that refreshed and renewed way again? God longs for you, to have a relationship that is kept pure from sin, and He is always ready and willing to give you the gift of forgiveness again and again you when you confess your sins to Him, because He is faithful and just.
Further on in Luke 2, after the shepherds had come to and seen Jesus, they “made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (Luke 2:18,20) This may seem simple and natural for the shepherds to tell others what they had heard and seen, it was a whole host of angles with a message from God after all. But this act by the shepherds can be so convicting at times. We have the gift of God’s redemption of our souls, but when was the last time you told anyone about it?
Based on the actions of people who perceive themselves to be outcasts in any given society or culture, they tend to try to stay under the radar, not be in the spotlight to highlight their lower standing of humility. But these shepherds were changed, therefore they shared regardless of what others would think of them. Jesus didn’t think of his societal standing when He hung from the cross being numbered among the transgressors. He thought of you. So why then would we ever hide our faith, our testimony, our God? As a Christian, you may be outcasts in our current culture, but in God’s kingdom, you’re His child.
I encourage you today to learn from the example of these shepherds whom the Lord made known His good news to first. Take time to confess your sins to your Heavenly Abba and receive His forgiveness. Walk as His child, talk as His child, and share the good news you’ve received as His child. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.