Tag Archives: Light

Who were the Shepherds Tending their Flocks?

When I was a child I couldn’t wait to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. The best part is when Linus declared that he can tell Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about and then wrapped his blanket about his head and stepped out onto the stage to speak these words:

Luke 2:8-12 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (9) And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. (10) And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (12) And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

The scene is heartwarming and certainly the focus is on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but today I want to look at the reason the angel came to the shepherds in the first place. I have no doubt that you have heard many sermons on how the shepherds were the lowest of the low during this period of history. That God goes to those that are downtrodden, etc, which is true– shepherds at this time were the poorest class of people. They were so poor that many had long ago sold their lands just to get by and paid to graze their sheep, but that only scratches the surface of what the scripture is telling us.

Christ is the chief shepherd and will be returning with a rod of iron. Before leaving, He said to Peter in the 21st chapter of John, “Feed my Sheep,” documenting to us that God not only uses shepherds as an analogy for those that look over the people, but that He has shepherds to this day. This is much like when David left the flock with a caregiver, when his father sent him to see about his brothers, and he found them all cowering on a hill as Goliath defied the armies of the Living God.

This isn’t only New Testament stuff:

Numbers 27:15-20 And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying, (16) Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, (17) Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd. (18) And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; (19) And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. (20) And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.

The job of the shepherd is to keep the children from falling into sin. Alas, we know that, by in large, they did not do their job.

Zechariah 10:2 For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.

God isn’t happy with shepherds that don’t do their job. It is why judgment begins at the pulpit.

Zechariah 11:17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.

But the angel came not to idol shepherds; he came to those few shepherds that were tending to their flocks. Symbolically this is the remnant. Which were not at the temple in Jerusalem, but out in the fields working, much like John the Baptist would be doing in just a few short years.

Romans 11:1-5 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (2) God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, (3) Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. (4) But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. (5) Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Now comes the question: why at night? Is it because we can see stars at night? Sure, but really it is because, before Christ came, the world was in darkness and they were still standing in the shadow of the law.

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Christ came to those that were waiting for Him, even when they couldn’t see everything. and even if they didn’t understand everything. The same will be true on His second advent, for He will come like a thief in the night.

Matthew 25:31-34 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (32) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. (34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Remember that Christ is inside of us, and while He is away, it is our job to be the light of the world.

Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Those shepherds, to whom the angel came, didn’t have the light of the world yet, but you do, so shine that light. Shine that light, and not just during this holiday season, but everyday. For, this world is a dark place, but putting the light of Christ out for all to see will not only warm your heart, it will help others to find the way.

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Can Flesh Understand Christ? John 8:21-8:32

Today when you speak to someone about Jesus or God they have a lot of preconceived ideas about what you believe and are going to say which can make it hard for someone come to Christianity with an open mind. Some of this has to do with how our liberal television shows, movies, news, radio and schools cast unfavorable lights upon Christians as a whole. Some has to do with the money grabbing, or the worthless excuses for shepherds we have parading about on those same televisions and radios thumping their bibles and saying some of the most ridiculous things you have ever heard.

The Pharisees here are no different. They have preconceived ideas about who the Messiah will be, what His mission is, and how He will accomplish it. Truth be told, some believed the Messiah would be a woman, or so I have heard. Fighting preconceptions can be extremely difficult, and oft times people can believe that if they had just said the right thing or did it just a little bit differently that they would’ve gotten someone to “see.” Don’t worry about that; God has a plan for everyone, and it isn’t for us to judge when that someone’s time to “see” is. Remember that this chapter of John started out with Christ on the Mount of Olives, which means this chapter gives us a look at what will happen when He returns.

John 8:21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.

This verse calls to mind: Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

It also makes me think if the Millennial Temple where only the overcomers can go into Him.

John 8:22 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.

Without the Holy Spirit, the only thing they can see is the flesh, and their minds work in the flesh. Be patient with those that think this way.

John 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

Heaven isn’t in the sky, and hell isn’t in the dirt, yet that was how people of they day thought about and/or visualized heaven. What He is talking about is the same thing that Paul told us here:

1 Corinthians 15:47-48 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. (48) As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Flesh man cannot understand the heavenly, but they can believe upon it and thereby transform themselves into spiritual beings that can.

John 8:25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.

He began (in the last section) by saying that He is the light of the world and His story hasn’t changed.

John 8:26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. (27) They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.

Again, many wont understand, but it is not understanding that is required, it is belief. The belief and faith of a mustard seed.

John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (29) And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

He is speaking of both advents here, His crucifixion and His return. Many believed upon Him after the first crucifixion, however every knee shall bow at His ultimate return, and everyone will KNOW who He is.

John 8:30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.

Think about this as it pertains to both advents.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

A disciple is a disciplined student. Remember what the Parable of the Sower taught us:

Matthew 13:18-22 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. (19) When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (20) But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; (21) Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. (22) He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Many people will take this verse and run with it, but it is only half the sentence. It starts with “If ye continue in my word.” To know anything it takes time. God doesn’t use magic to give us full understanding. The seed needs to grow and we must strive to set down roots. Sitting upon a seedling cannot give you the same view as sitting upon a hundred year old oak. Continue in His word, ponder it, and you will know Christ.

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Christ gives His Credentials John 8:12-20

In our last post from the book of John, the pharisees brought Christ a woman caught in adultery and told him the law of Moses ordered her to be stoned and demanded what He would say about it. Now Christ is going to shift His focus from the adulterous woman to the pharisees. That is to say those that have sinned (Israel) and those that believe they are righteous (Kenites).

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (13) The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.

Christ forgave the woman because even thought she was in darkness, she went to the Light of the World when she saw Him. Her accusers on the other hand fled from the light. John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

John 8:14 Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.

Again darkness does not understand the light.

John 8:15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.

What does judging after the flesh really mean? It means that while we are in the flesh we cannot see or understand everything. We cannot see that the adulterous woman regretted her actions. Not truly. It is incredibly hard to understand if a person truly regrets their actions or only feel guilty because they got caught.

John 8:16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

Oft times we can get unction from the Holy Spirit and He will tell us if something is true or not, but Christ and the Father are one, thus, if Christ judges we know it comes from the Father and it is good.

John 8:17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. (18) I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.

I like how Jesus says, “YOUR LAW,” to tell them that my their own set of standards He is true.  Remember they had just brought Him the adulterous woman and went on spouting law at Him. Watch how quickly they forget.

John 8:19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. (20) These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.

We will get into them not knowing His Father in the next post. Today I want to focus on an often overlooked fact before we close and that is WHERE Christ said these things, the treasury. I know I’ve said this many times, but I will say it again, where Christ said something is just as important as what He said.

The treasury is where the captured riches from other lands were stored along with the tithes. The tithes were supposed to go to the maintenance and running of the temple and to help care for the priests. It was supposed to be that these gifts were freely given to God, and from that, the Word of the Lord was to come from the temple. These pharisees were not using the tithes to spread the light of God; they were using it for their own selfish desires. Soon they would use that money to slay the Word of God by paying Judas with it.

 

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