Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why the Shephards And the Wisemen?

I could never figure out why God sent an angel to lowly shephards and a star to Wisemen.
There is such a contrast between two groups of people that it is very strange that they should both get a moment as strange as meeting the Messiah of the world.
And yet it fits so beautifully with the rest of the story that the meaning of the whole thing is lost to the cute little shephards and the ornately decorated wisemen.
So let us examin the two of them and see what we come up with.
First of all we have the shephards. They were amazing Jewish men living most of the time by themselves never really having much to do with the outside world other than the other shephards in the area and the temple servants that would come to find the perfect lambs for sacrifice. They lived a little stone caves and had to keep an eye out for preditors and other creatures human and animal that might take the sheep. Not only that, but they knew every last one of their sheep and had names for every last one of them. They were a special people and yet they were lowly people also. I am sure they didn't smell the greatest and I am sure their social manner was that of street people today.
So why is it that God sent such a beautiful sign to these dirty, smelly, lowly men who took care of stupid sheep every day? Why did he proclaim the birth of His Son the Messiah when he could have announced it to more important people?

And then there are the wisemen. They weren't even Jewish and Jesus was prophesied as the Jewish Messiah so why in the world God direct these men to the star? These men were scholars and observers of the heavens. They had study the Jewish Scriptures and seemed to know that when that star came it ment that something spectacular had just occured.
But why is it that God choose them rather then Priests or Scribes of the Jewish faith who study the Scripture and knew it as well as the Wisemen did?

Personally I would think those are good questions to ask when investigating the strange stories of the shephard and the angel or the wiseman and a star.
It think it all wraps up into a very simple and beautiful explination. The Shephards were a symbol of three kinds of people. One they were Jewish and Jesus had been promised for the Jews. Secondly they were poor symbolizing that Christ not only was born for the rich, but for the poorest of poor. Thirdly Christ as for even those who had not training of any kind and were very simple minded in the ideas.
Then we have the wisemen and they are also symbolized as three different kinds of people. First of all they were considered Gentiles and although Christ was prophesied for the Jews, Christ came to save even those who were not Jews, but Gentiles. They were rich which meant that God didn't just send his son to die for the poor or the middle class, but also for those who had all the world goods they wanted. Thirdly they were scholars. They could read, write and study the stars and know of things that those of us with simpler minds could never even think about. They could be compared to Bill Gates who is both a very intellegent man and very rich. But dispite it all God still loved them enough to come to earth as a baby and to die for their sins.

And now we understand why God choose these men. Because He wanted us to realize that Jesus had come to earth for all man kind and not just for a specific group of people.
The more and more I think of the Nativity story the more amazing it becomes to me. There is so much depth in the story that no one thinks about that we should recognize as a beautiful expression of God to mankind. What an awesome God we have!

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