Advent 2015: Born Is The King: Day 26

Jesus Is Messiah


Today's Text: John 1:9-14, Luke 2:8-20

Text: John 1:9-14, Luke 2:8-20

The shepherd’s life was ironic.

Their job was to care for the animals that would be sacrificed to atone for the sins of the people. Yet because of their handling of these dirty creatures, they themselves were unclean and thus prevented from keeping the ceremonial law. And because they were ceremonially unclean, they were often regarded as untrustworthy and irreligious.

But when the angel appeared to tell the shepherds about the birth of the Savior, he told them Christ the Lord had been born unto them (Luke 2:11). Though they lived most of their lives on the outside looking in, they would not be outsiders to this gift. The shepherds were the recipients of it.

This was big news. The shepherds sensed it, but the angels in Heaven knew it and their behavior showed it. Initially, it was just one glorious but solitary angel who appeared to these men in Bethlehem’s fields. But as soon as he announced Jesus’s birth, “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:13).

It was as if there were millions of angels hiding just behind some celestial door, and once they heard, “Unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!” they were unable to contain their joy any longer and all rushed in, praising God, singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14).

The spontaneous eruption of angelic praise became the lens through which the shepherds would see this moment: God was at work. This much was plain. But why had the glory of all glories appeared to the lowest of the lows? Why had the angel chosen to reveal this message to mere shepherds, unclean as they were?

Because poverty is relative. Could it be that from the perspective of heaven, the poor shepherds outside Bethlehem were no more or less poor than the rest of the world sleeping under its watch? Could it be that the poor of the earth were in fact all the people of the earth—poor in spirit, mourning and meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness (Matthew 5:2-12)? Could it be that the Savior’s coming was for them as much as it was for anyone, and for anyone as much as it was for them?

The angels gave the shepherds a sign that left them speechless. Their Messiah and Savior could be found where the young lambs were kept. He would be the one not covered in wool, but wrapped in a swaddling cloth.

When they found Jesus in the manger as the angel said, the very location of His birth was drenched in significance. The Savior had been born into their unclean world in the same manner as a lamb. The symbolism was not lost on them. He was born unto them.

When the shepherds saw Jesus there, they saw not only that He had come, but they got a hint as to why. He came to be the perfect Lamb— the ultimate, lasting sacrifice. This baby’s coming was to accomplish and establish peace between the God of all creation and His image-bearers who habitually rejected Him.

And so it would be all His days.

From the manger in Bethlehem to the cross on Calvary, Jesus moved among the people, came into their homes, touched their blind eyes, and permitted their unfaithful hands to touch Him. He taught them profound lessons from ordinary events. He defended the defenseless and opposed the self-righteous. He ate at their tables, laughed with their children, and wept over their grief.

Never did He abandon His purpose for coming, which was to die for a world of spirit-poor outsiders as the Lamb of God who takes their sin away. Jesus was born poor. He lived poor. And He died poor for the sake of His people.

The shepherds could not have known that this boy came into this world in the same way He would leave it: out in the open, among the outcast, poor, and despised, but driven by one purpose—to ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile until the Son of God appears.

written by Russ Ramsey
adapted from Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative


  • Wow. WOW. So powerful!!!

  • Haileyblackmer

    This is beyond powerful ❤️

  • Leenda324

    Wow. Just wow. The abundant details our God sees to blows my mind.

  • Nadine Hall

    I’ve had Luke 2:1-20 memorized since Elementary school, yet I never saw the significant link between the Shepherds, the sacrificial lamb, and the birth of Messiah. I have loved this study and have had my eyes opened to so many truths in the stories this grown-up Christian-school-girl had grown so very accustomed and almost calloused to.

  • I love this!

  • I have been on SRT since July, and this has by far been my favorite study! I love the pattern of “Jesus is the better ____” because most of them were characters I hadn’t really connected in the right way. Thank you so much to the writers of these fun, real devotionals. Merry Christmas, y’all!

  • He was born poor, he was born a man-weak and lowly- so that we would never fear coming to Him, for He is as we are, just without sin. He was reachable and accessible to shepherds, prostitutes, lepers, and tax collectors- the lowest of the low in that say and He STIll reaches to save the lowest today.

    He didn’t need to be surrounded by pomp, jewels and royalty to be glorious- He is complete in His majesty and Kingly glory in Himself. And so out if His wondrous mercy, He chose the lowest to be His crowning jewels, His special possession, His treasured ones. All to the praise of HIS glory!!!

  • Caroline

    I am so thankful that Jesus is still coming into our homes and meeting us right where we are!

  • Ashley Teague

    “Could it be that the Savior’s coming was for them as much as it was for anyone, and for anyone as much as it was for them?” Love this!

  • I had never connected the idea of the shepherds keeping watch over “the animals that would be sacrificed to atone for the sins of the people.” Whoa! And then for the Shepherds to be present at Jesus’ birth. How beautifully orchestrated was that! I am in awe!

  • The Savior is coming; Immanuel has already come! And I type this in awe that we get to know Him! I often take for granted the extravagant gift Jesus gave us in this: that He makes God known! Unlike the pagans, we get to know our God’s character. And unlike the old covenant of the Jews, we get to communicate to God through Jesus, the True and Better Mediator between the people and God (just like when we studied Moses a couple of days ago). For God didn’t have to make Himself known to us, BUT He did! And Jesus came to reveal God to us that we might live in His light!

    “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son… has made him known.” (John 1:18) “Let us to to Bethlehem and see this things that has happened, which the Lord has TOLD us about.” (Luke 2:15, emphasis mine)

  • Lord Jesus, Heavenly Father, oh that you would orchestrate your birth and coming into this world in such a way. Oh the glorious light that shined in the bleak darkness! You came down from your heavenly throne, through Christ’s birth. Praise you Lord Jesus!

  • As I read yesterday’s devotional (today), I couldn’t help but think of the children’s Christmas rhyme, “What can I give Him?” — it goes “What can I give Him? Poor as I am. If I was a Shepard I’d give Him a lamb. If I were a wise man I’d do my part. But what can I give Him? Give Him my heart.” This holiday season I don’t have much by way of “stuff” to give Him; no big feasts to invite all our friends to, and even our Christmas celebrations are not the unified gatherings of a hallmark card, but scattered between families houses and custody rules for my kid. But I will give Him something more this year than I’ve ever given Him before; God has done so much for me, this past year especially, so how could I not bow my heart before Him and give Him everything? All He wants is all I have! I can give Him that.

    Thank you, SRT, for reducing me to tears nearly every morning of this advent season, and for reminding me the best postures aren’t done for show, they’re for praise and thankfulness — therein lies the perfect fullness of JOY. Happy Christmas, SRT family!!!

  • Tears fill my eyes. This is one of the most powerful devotionals I’ve read. I didn’t know that shepherds were regarded in this way. My first thought was I could be one! And here, the child was born in a manger with them. Jesus never ceases to amaze me and the sheer magnitude of His sacrifice is truly the biggest gift of all.

    Merry Christmas, sisters! Blessings to you and your families.

    • Natalie

      Amen!! I didn’t realize that about shepherds either! How incredible that they were some of the first to be told of the King’s birth. Makes the whole story of Christ’s birth and purpose that much more awe-inspiring.

  • This series has been amazing !! Thank you for all the work you put into this ladies of SRT!! And to my fellow she’s thanks for sharing your thoughts and hearts!! You are all such a blessing!!

  • I love the idea of the Angels hiding and waiting for their cue to say glory in the highest. I can imagine the anticipation of getting to share the news of one who has come to rescue us. Such a beautiful picture!

  • Never have I been brought to tears whilst reading a devotional, but this morning, something broke through the Jesus pattern I had going.
    “Jesus was born poor. He lived poor. And He died poor for the sake of His people.”
    Oh how often do we as humans forget the gravity of what Jesus did for us! He gave up everything, everything, to live as we do. And all to reach His people, to love them, to die for them.
    This is a dazzling reminder of what Christmas is all about, and I will treasure it.

  • I’ve never before thought about how Jesus came into the world in the same way as a lamb would. Wow.

    • Bonnie

      Same here!! It’s so obvious now, I don’t know how it never struck me before.

  • 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. To know that the precious baby you just gave birth to and hold, is the Savior of the world. The peace she had, knowing this, could only come from God. What sacrifice. God is so good, always in the details. Just when I think ‘I’m not feeling God’s presence’ he shows up, clearly, in the details of my life. Knowing you are loved by God, that he sent us the most precious gift, what a feeling.

  • Thank you so much for this series! The good news of Jesus Christ’s birth is for everyone.

  • I continue to be blown away by every little detail in God’s plan. The fact that Jesus was “born among the lambs” has never really hit me until reading this. His thoughts and ways truly are higher than mine. My heart is full this morning!

  • Wow this is amazing. Thank you Lord for the gift you gave to us poor souls to make us new.

  • This morning it really hit me the significance of the angel appearing to shepherds. Outcasts in the realm of the religious. Poor, dirty, unworthy …..all throughout The Word we see a humble God seeking a humble people. Oh that He may find us humble this Christmas season seeking him with our whole heart and serving others with our whole heart. Let’s join the thousands of angels rejoicing in the coming of our glorious humble King!

  • Melissa, I love your heart, knowing your Mom is celebrating with your Dad and Jesus. I pray that you will know and feel God’s true peace this Christmas. Blessings to all , Merry Christmas.

  • My mom died last week. And I keep saying “it doesn’t feel like Christmas.” After all we went through the world happened around us and my life stood still.
    But this…Gods word…”The true light which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”
    As Linus said, that’s what Christmas is all about. Jesus. And a time to celebrate Him. This year my mom is spending Christmas with my dad and our Jesus in Heaven! She is pain free, a new body that can run and dance again.
    So Christmas will be different this year, different location of celebration – but we are gathering to celebrate Christ and what his coming meant for us!
    Yes, I may cry because of the absence of my mom, but I also want to rejoice and celebrate Jesus.

    • Beverly

      Praying that God would wrap you up in His presence and great love during this season. May you find hope and comfort in His perfect peace. Hugs to you, Melisa.

    • Kylee

      Much love to you, Melisa. As the holidays take new form for your family I pray you would all feel at peace, and so very loved as you are by our God. Merry Christmas!

    • Churchmouse

      My mom passed away right before Thanksgiving. I know she is set free from earthly pain and whole in mind and body. She is in the presence of Jesus and as much as I miss her, I am glad she is with Him. Praying my dad and my siblings would come to the saving knowledge of what Jesus did for them, that they might believe in His full redemption.

      • Cristina

        Praise be to God for your faith in Him and insight about your darling precious mother! I pray the hearts of your siblings and father are softened by the Holy Spirit and labors are sent surrounding and through all their paths to share the great love of Jesus Christ! Happy birth of our sacrificial perfectly white Lamb Jesus Christ! I pray this Christmas is filled with Gods presence surrounding you with such a grand gesture of love and comfort in Jesus name I pray amen!

        • Churchmouse

          Thank you for your lovely prayer on behalf of me and my family. Much needed and greatly appreciated

    • Joanna

      Praying for you and your family, Melisa. May you know God’s peace and find comfort in knowing you will be reunited with your mother again.

    • Deb

      I sorrow for your loss, it reminds me to be thankful for all who are around you. Pray and keep watch, and see what God will do through the sad, may HE be glorified.

  • Kristina

    I just started SRT a week ago and I am blown away with how much I am learning and how Christ is and has been working in my life! Thank you for all your comments and I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

  • I marvel with everyone else here in our sweet community at the depth of details of the Christmas true story. I also thought of another angle to those details. We know of two groups of people who came to pay homage to Jesus: shepherds and kings. John 10:1-18 records the words of Jesus being the good shepherd. Specifically, verse 11 says: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” And we’ve already read in Isaiah 9:7: “…He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” Here, as in the rest of the life of Jesus, He turns the life we know upside down. The world’s shepherds and kings come to worship the Good Shepherd and King of kings. Merry Christmas to all of you, wherever you celebrate the birth of our Lord!

    • Kylee

      I was thinking similar thoughts as I read! How He loves & identifies with us so deeply, sending the highest of the high royalty and the lowest of the lows from the pasture. We all fit in there somewhere between a lowly Shepard and a king, right? Merry Christmas, Terry!!

  • I’ve always loved coming to the shepherd’s part in the Christmas story. Imaging what it would’ve been like seeing the Angels, receiving the herald of Christ’s birth, finding Him, seeing Him, worshipping Him, and leaving to tell everyone they came in contact with that the Savior of the world has been born! What an honor bestowed upon the least of these. Glory to God in the highest! Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

  • I love how the shepherds were making “known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.” They were missionaries for Jesus–sharing truth to anyone in their path. It WAS good news for all the people! Merry Christmas Eve, Friends!

  • Churchmouse

    “Jesus came to be the perfect Lamb – the ultimate lasting sacrifice.” And so the shepherds joined the angels in rejoicing. They rejoiced that Jesus had come to put them out of a job!

    Merry Christmas Eve, sweet SRT sisters!

  • “Their Messiah and Savior could be found where the young lambs were kept. He would be the one not covered in wool, but wrapped in a swaddling cloth.” The connection between the shepherds and the spotless Lamb—what a beautiful picture. In all of literature, only God could orchestrate such a weaving of elements, from Genesis to Revelation. But it is not just a good story; is real life, past, present, and future. The first sacrifice in the Garden, the Passover lamb, the Lamb of God, and holy holy holy is the Lamb!

    • LizzieB85

      I had very similar thoughts as you. My mind is blown at how God weaves His perfect story throught out the Bible. So much truth!

  • ❤️

  • A beautiful reminder of the love of our God. No detail of His birth was left out. Everything was perfectly in order. How much He loved and loves us. I have so enjoyed these daily postings.

  • I love this. The true story of the nativity gets me every time and the Shepherds are one of the biggest parts of that. The truth in the timing and details of Jesus’ birth have been so warped over the years that our manger scenes are vastly different than what was likely present on the day Jesus was born. BUT these Shepherds! I think they represent so much. A few years of my life we had horses and my job, as was my sister’s, was to muck out the barn, round up the horses on inclement weather days, feed, wash and care for them. In addition to the horses, I had a pet lamb. I loved that little guy, but clean was not a word I would associate with him, so any interaction I had with him left me desperately in need of a bath myself. I share this because I wasn’t even allowed in the kitchen, let alone at the table until I was clean. And I certainly wasn’t going anywhere or being seen by anyone in that state. But these guys lived this 100% of the time. It was their entire life and as little as my own family was willing to sit near me in my smelly mess, these men received distance ten fold from folks. AND yet, the best message, the most important arrival was shared with THEM. THE men others deemed unworthy of human attention or respect, God sent His holy angels to. THEY were the ones that received the news of our Savior’s birth. How different are they from us? In sin, we are covered in muck, dirty and wretched and yet Christ comes TO US! Christ’s birth is like a giant hug from God over the filthiest of filthy’s … US! Just as those Shepherds stood in awe of this baby king, knowing the circumstances of his birth … I stand in awe that God would send this infant to cover MY sins, MY filth, MY wretchedness! And He had every detail of this event planned long before the angels spoke to those Shepherds, long before Mary and Joseph met and long before His promise to David. I can’t plan a dinner party without feeling like I’ve left a detail out and yet the Creator of the universe has everything sewn up and planned so specifically down to the finer details over thousands of years…..even to His intention in sharing this with the Shepherds, which just brings home that God has intentions for me, for my life. He has not left one thing, one person or one opportunity out. Amazed at the preciseness of our Lord, at His love over us, at the humble and meek beginnings of our Savior! Thankful is a word that doesn’t begin to cover it!

    Merry Christmas friends! I hope this finds you well and full of awe over this season! ~ B

    • Kelly S

      So beautifully and humbly stated, B! Merry Christmas and blessings to you and your family.

    • Judy

      Love how you share B. Merry Christmas and Thank you!!

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Such beautiful, powerful, true words Betsy! Thank you!!! May God’s light and love fill you and your family this Christmas <3

  • A great company of the heavenly host. What a choir! Praise Him!

  • Amanda Wilson

    yes! This struck me too, Brittney. I had always missed this part when hearing or reading about this story…Jesus came in the same way of a lamb for sacrifice. I am definitely blown away by a God of details. It also gives reassurance to me in my life…that God is using the details that don’t look as pristine as I would sometimes prefer! He is so good!

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      I was blown away too – started crying when the symbolism and God’s perfect plan really hit home…….wow!!! How have I missed this?!?! So thankful God is in control! Merry Christmas!

  • Missy CM

    I´m struck by His humanity today, and hold it up next to his divinity… like in Isaiah 6:1-4. So holy! I just sat on that for a minute before realizing I have no concept of just how holy He is, nothing to compare it to. I went to Matthew Henry´s commentary on those verses and, as usual, it gives some great insight. I´ll share it here.
    “See God upon his throne, and that throne high and lifted up, not only above other thrones, as it transcends them, but over other thrones, as it rules and commands them…See the sovereignty of the Eternal Monarch: he sits upon a throne—a throne of glory, before which we must worship,—a throne of government, under which we must be subject,—and a throne of grace, to which we may come boldly. This throne is high, and lifted up above all competition and contradiction.”

    Worship. Be subject. Come boldly.
    Merry Christmas, sisters!

    • SarahMay

      Amen! “A throne high and lifted up…above…over…a throne of GRACE, to which we may come boldly.” Thank you for sharing.

      Merry Christmas!

    • Sonya

      Wow! Thank you for your comment!

    • Churchmouse

      Will be pondering your post today – so revealing about Who God really is. High and lifted up. Humbles me this day. Thank you

    • Julia

      Wow. That is seriously insightful. We see Him, in all His glory, in all His justice, in all His grace. Takes my breath away. Thank you for sharing!!

  • Brittney

    The more I study the Bible, it amazes me, every time, to see how God doesn’t miss a single detail (although it shouldn’t). Last year we learned Bethlehem means “bread house, house of bread” & this year learning all the details of the shepherds & how Jesus was born in the same way a lamb is born. It’s so sad to think that there was no room for Mary & Joseph at the inn but that was designed because there would be no message for the shepherds! Man oh man. Someone once told me “life happens in the details.” That couldn’t be more true! But really, GOD happens in the details <3 haha he can plot everything out, not missing a single beat & I can barely remember my keys when I walk out the door! Praise God! Merry Christmas everyone :)

    • LindseyC

      So true and I love learning the details. They blow my mind.

      • Sarah

        I love your insight Brittney! You’re right- I’m always amazed at how detailed the bible is, and we often miss it.

  • I am so overwhelmed by this. As I think of the nativity scene and all who have come and each with a story and sign from God of who this was. I am overwhelmed with Jesus. With how Mary felt, knowing what she faced and was to face. But having overwhelming confirmation that again God was faithful, what He told her was true and something amazing was being done, taking place and she was apart of it. I think back to my first encounter with Jesus. How he rescued me from a very dark place. How He truly was the only light, star, glimpse of hope in my situation. How what He did for us was just for that. To save each and every one of us. My heart is overwhelmed and aches for those who don’t know Him. For those who have dismissed Him in their lives. But my heart rejoices in Him. He is so true. So sovereign. I’m just in awe. I love Him. And He loved me first. He’s so holy.

    • Amanda McClelland

      Jena, I feel the same way! So overwhelmed by the magnificent plan and His great love for a sinner like me.

    • Monica Mckinny

      Beautiful Jena! The verse about Mary treasuring all this in her heart had me reflect for a moment too. I can’t even begin to imagine her total feelings, but being a young Mom has me relate to some. To give birth to a child & not fully know how to parent or what is to come is an overwhelming feeling….and she just gave birth to the Messiah! & then hours after child birth having to flee in the middle of the night from King Herod & Satan’s tactics. I know it must of been rough for both new parents. I thank God for always having it figured out & knowing that He is in control! That He sent His son unto us to save us!

  • Merry Christmas to all! Praise God for the birth of Jesus!

  • To us a son is born! Jesus the savior of the world!
    Merry Christmas SRT sisters!

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