Scripture: Luke 2:8-14; Luke 15:1-7
What images come to mind when you think of shepherds “abiding in the field, keep watch over their flocks by night”?
Probably not images that are well-suited to actual shepherds.
Shepherds were fearsome fighters. They were brave. They were strong. They did what they needed to do protect their defenseless flock from all kinds of dangers: lions, bears, cougars, wolves, wild dogs, and deadly snakes.
Remember in 1 Samuel 17 when young David makes the case to King Saul that, despite his youthful appearance, he’s well-qualified to go and fight the giant Goliath? Why is he qualified? Because he was a shepherd who was used to fighting lions and bears.
Shepherds are fighters. And Jesus says God is like a shepherd who’s fighting to save us. This shepherd has a hundred sheep and loses one. Just one tiny, insignificant sheep. Who’s going to miss it?
This shepherd misses it. He leaves the 99 and goes off, searching high and low, risks his own life to find this one lost sheep. And when he finds it, he’s so overjoyed that he throws a big party: “Rejoice with me,” he tells everyone. “I’ve found my sheep that was lost.”
When we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God our Good Shepherd wanted so badly to rescue us, his lost sheep, from sin and Satan and death that he came into this world, and he became one of us! He became one with us. And if you repent and place your faith in Jesus, it’s as if God were throwing a party because he’s so happy that now you’re going to spend eternity with him! He loves you that much!
In what ways are you like the “one lost sheep” in the parable? In what ways are you like the 99 sheep who aren’t lost? In what ways are you, or can you be, like the shepherd who searches and finds the lost sheep?
📲 Click here to learn more about the shepherds in Luke 2.