The Kingdom of God

The shepherd King

THE SHEPHERD KING

[Christmas Family Service – 18th December 1994]

[A king who rules by shepherding]

 

Luke 2 v1-20; Matthew 2v1-12.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

Many characters in the Christmas story – let’s name some.

Mary and Joseph, the wise men, the shepherds, the angels, the inn-keeper, King Herod, the religious leaders, Zerariah and Elizabeth and John the Baptist,………

 

This morning lets look at the shepherds!

 

1. THE SHEPHERD IN THE FIELDS.

 

We know about how the angels announced the good news to the shepherds. They were very frightened – who wouldn’t be? They hurried to the stable to see Jesus.

 

WHAT DO SHEPHERDS DO?

Easy – look after sheep.  How??

 

CARES –  enough food – where is the best grass – Where is there enough water. That is not so difficult in England but in Israel it is very dry. In the cold and wind must find shelter. If they get sick he must know how to make them better.

 

PROTECTS – there are many dangers out in the country. Shepherd must know the dangerous places – cliffs etc.

Also wild animals – wolves, foxes, lions, bears ….

What did Shepherds also carry? – a crook, staff, stick … & sling, catapult, gun,…

 

Illus.: David – sling – killed a lion and a bear…

 

Also protects from other people – sheepstealers – in places where sheep are very important and worth lots of money shepherds can get killed while trying to protect their sheep.

 

 

 

KNOWS – by name –

Illus.: farm – all cows had names . name place over each stall. cows would go to their own stall – no they could not read !!!

 

WORKS HARD – [Sacrifices]

Illus.: In France – mountain village – sheep and goats every morning return from the fields by 8:00am. – very early start. Evening back up the mountains again.

 

Must be out in hot sun, rain, wind, cold — with NO day off. Sheep are hungry even on Sundays or holidays.

 

2. THE SHEPHERD IN THE MANGER.

 

There were shepherd in the field – there was another shepherd in the story – where was he? – in the manger.

 

Past 5 weeks we have been looking at the Kingdom of God – last week the King who was a servant.  We know Jesus was a King – the wise men came looking for the “King of the Jews”

Jesus is a King and a servant but he is also a Shepherd.

 

But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah

are by no means least among the RULERS of Judah;

for out of you will come a RULER who will be

the SHEPHERD of my people Israel. [Matt.2v6 cf.Micah 5v2]

 

CARES – like the other shepherds –

The lord is my shepherd I shall not want

He makes me lie down in green pastures

he leads me beside still waters… [Ps.23]

 

Jesus cares for his sheep – Christians, those who belong to him – he knows what is good for us – he leads us into places that he knows are best for us –

 

Illus.: Sometimes sheep have to go by a difficult road to get to the best grass

 

Sometimes life can be very hard but Jesus cares deeply for us and he will always do for us what is best. He knows where the green pastures are BUT we often only see the dusty road.

 

PROTECTS – Jesus said in John 10v7 ”   ….. I am the gate ….”

 

Illus.: Sheep fold – walled in with stones or sticks – sometimes no gate – Shepherd would sleep across the entrance to keep sheep in and keep danger out.

 

Jesus knows what dangers there are for us, his sheep – Sometimes we ask Him for something and we don’t get it – he knows best Or he brings things into our lives we don’t want BUT he knows best. Sometimes we don’t understand and it doesn’t make sense to us. We only see our life in the here and now BUT Jesus sees all of life from and eternal perspective.

 

 

He is the Good shepherd – he knows his sheep and his sheep know him –

 

KNOWS – to me a bunch of sheep is a bunch of sheep – a crowd of people is a crowd of people BUT to Jesus we are not just a bunch of people – he knows everyone by name and every detail about them.

 

He knows what you had for breakfast – he knows what you say – what you think – when you are kind or unkind – when you lie or tell the truth – how many hairs on your head [he has an easier job with some of us regarding the number of hairs]

 

There is nothing Jesus doesn’t know about you –

He knows every person in the world BUT sadly, not every person knows him – only those who hear his voice.

Can’t everyone hears his voice??  Proverb -“None so deaf as those who will not hear”

Illus.: Radio – can’t receive signal if switched off!!

 

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.

He will come in and go out and find pasture.

They thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy but

I have come tat you might have life and have it to

the full [John 10v9 – 10]

SACRIFICES [works hard]

 

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd

lays down his life for the sheep. [Jn10v11]

 

The OT tell us that we are all like sheep who have gone astray [got lost] gone our own way [done our own thing].

Sheep need a shepherd – with no shepherd they are lost and in danger. That is what we are all like until we come to Christ.

He came to die on the cross to make it possible for us to be found – to become part of God’s flock.

 

He came as a King to rule his people but he did that by being a shepherd – a good shepherd who gives his life for his sheep. So the manger without the cross has no meaning.

 

How do I stop being lost? – you enter into God’s kingdom through Jesus Christ –

 

I am the gate for the sheep whoever enters through me will be saved.

 

There is no other way – only one gate – Jesus.

 

How do you know Jesus? As a baby in a manger on a Christmas card? OR as the Shepherd King who knows you and whom you know and love!!

 

 

THE SHEPHERD’S TASK

 

 

CARES                ” … green pastures …”

                                  ” … still waters …

 

 

PROTECTS        ” I am the gate … “

 

 

KNOWS              ” I know my sheep and my

                                     sheep know me.”

 

 

WORKS              ” I lay down my life for the

   [Sacrifices]           sheep.”

 

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