Up the hill from our home in Romania was a field where a shepherd sometimes brought his sheep to graze. Our daughter, an animal lover since birth (!!), loved having these furry creatures nearby. The shepherd sensed her kindred spirit, and so when twins were born, he gave her one of the new lambs to raise. Fortunately for us, our next-door neighbors had a small cabin, complete with wood-burning stove, on their “garden plot” that they offered her as a place to raise the lamb. She bottle-fed the little one… who then bonded with our daughter, thinking she was her mother! Everywhere she went the lamb followed.
Being a shepherd is a solitary life, a nomadic life. They literally live with their flock, enduring all kinds of weather. The sheepskin coat they wear envelops them in warmth and helps keep them dry. They are accustomed to waiting, to diligently watching and protecting their flock. They don’t have the convenience of running water and indoor plumbing — and so they can be a bit smelly, like their charges! Shepherds are often viewed as being low-class… as nobodies.
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over the sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.Luke 2: 8-11 (The Message)
God chose to announce the birth of His Son, the Christ Child, to shepherds. Not to world leaders or people of influence. Not to the rich and powerful. Not to scholars or celebrities…
But to nobodies.
Fast forward approximately 33 years. The Christ Child, now a man, hung on a cross, paying the penalty for our sins — for yours and for mine. He was buried in a tomb, and yet on the third day, the tomb was empty.
The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here [at the empty tomb]. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as He said… Now, get on your way quickly and tell His disciples.”Matthew 28:5-7 (The Message)
This incredible good news — that Jesus had risen from the dead, that He was alive!!! — was communicated to women. This oft overlooked fact is rich with significance when we understand that women were not valued in the world back then. In a sense, they were like the shepherds.
They, too, were nobodies.
Nobodies entrusted with the greatest news the world has ever heard!
Our world bombards us with messages through advertisement, social media, the entertainment industry that you have to be somebody to be valued, recognized, appreciated. And yet God has turned that thinking upside down: He chose the lowly, the overlooked, the marginalized, the nobodies to be His special messengers. That choice infuses value as opposed to being blinded to any sense of worth. That choice lifts one out of the despair of feeling worthless or invisible. That choice is both freeing and revolutionary!
… God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies…”I Corinthians 1: 28 (The Message)
Learn a lesson from the shepherds…. that God views us — all of us — as people of value because we bear HIS image. There are no nobodies in this world! And as we grasp this and live this out in our daily lives, not only in how we relate to and view others but also in how we see ourselves, we will be better able to encourage one another and have joy in the journey of this thing called “Life.”