This series is exploring how Jesus’ birth interrupted the lives of his family, the shepherds, the religious and political leaders, the expectations of the religious and ultimately the future of all mankind. What he brought was a new order, a new Kingdom and a new promise.
God’s activity will often interrupt our activity so that we can make his activity a greater priority in our lives. When God’s activity interrupts our activity we have a choice of continuing with our way or to drop off everything and make his activity a greater priority.
In this sermon Jef Walton uses rhyme to present an amazing sermon about how Jesus interrupted the shepherds in Luke 2:1-20.
Read the full transcript here:
“Jef Walton, husband, father
4y in Malawi and counting and 4y at Flood
Director of VOH where we work with kids.
I’m best known for my love of photography, my winning sense of humour and my uncanny ability to grow a beard within 3 months.
But enough about me, let’s get to the message which by the way is meant to be fun so feel free to just enjoy it.
Since the kids are in the service I thought I’d try something a bit more creative. I hope this works.
I heard that today the kids will all stay here inside
And I thought to myself, how can I keep this sermon alive?
How in the world will I hold their attention?
With pretty pictures or a strange new invention?
No, thought I, that is not what I’ll do.
I try something different, I’ll try something new
So I sharpened my pencil, and got ready to write
And thought, a preacher who’s rhyming will be quite a sight
So friends now behold, I give you that sight
And hope in my heart I get all the rhymes right.
For it is for your very minds that I attempt to reach
and grab and hold your full engrossment with this rhyming preach.
And with your minds engaged the Lord I hope he will impart
The vital message of this sermon deep into your heart.
And not just yours, but my heart too for it has need like you –
of the enriching glories found within the Holy Bible too.
So grasp that book into your hand, or open up that app
and let us read the word of God before you start your nap.
Turn in your Bibles with me now. Luke is where we will read
Find chapter two and as you do there’s one more thing I need
That one thing more is in respect please stand up on your feet
For in the pages of God’s word is where pure truth we meet.
Luke 2 1-20
The Birth of Jesus
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a]Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Our theme right now is interruptions from the King of Kings
And on the day of Jesus birth that’s exactly what he brings
Shepherds keep watch of flocks by night keeping their sheep close
When darkest night turns to bright light with heaven’s angelic host
The news they bring will turn the tides of history forever
and entrusted to a group of guys who frankly weren’t that cleaver
The lives of Mary and of Joseph changed forever more
As Mary cries with labour pains upon the manger floor
Without the help of family, nor the aid of friends of course
And let’s be honest here, the man Joseph was no great resource
Mary pushes and pants and brings into the world
The miracle of God himself in human flesh revealed
An interruption, you might say, to Satan’s plans and schemes
For Father God has just subbed-in his best player on the team
An interruption, you might say, just check the score board now
As every tongue will soon confess and every knee will bow
An interruption, you might say, after all we’re here
Celebrating Christmas day even after two thousand years
As we take look at our text today some things I think we see
First of all this child’s birth even interrupted me
And I’m not special, after all it interrupted you
And knowing that is not enough we must get up and do
Joseph did, and Mary did, the shepherds did the do
And standing here speaking these rhymes I guess I’m doing too
To interrupt, it seems so wrong, and it can be just a tad
but… whoever said interruptions always have to be so bad
They don’t always have to make you feel sad or crazy crazy mad
After all, according to the angels some make you feel quite glad
Grab your Bible take a look at Luke two verse eight to ten
Now lets just take a moment and read it once again
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
These are angels were talking about here, they were not being coy
They really were bringing good news that will cause all people joy
And that’s one point I’d like to make that Joy is for us all
And when we turn our lives to Christ we’ll hear joy’s joyous call
But lets back this up, was it shepherds to whom angels appeared?
Is it just me or does that somehow seem kinda weird
This is the king of kings and lords of lord who’s being born
And Father God sends his heavenly host to a few bros society has scorned?
After all, if you read a bit you’ll find this to be true
Shepherds were not regarded well, even hated sometimes bru
Think about it just a sec, these dudes weren’t home asleep
They were stuck outside all night long with their gang of woolly sheep
Now who do you give a job like that to, not the Pope in Rome
Like respectable people everywhere he’s asleep in bed at home
At least that’s the understanding people had in Bible times
The troublemakers counted sheep alright but not at home in bed
They got stuck outside all night on some dodgy hill instead
So why on earth did God above send angels to these blokes?
It seems to me that God above would know some nicer folks.
But here’s an interesting fact that might just shed some light
These shepherds, these outcasts, watching sheep at night
Were from the town of Bethlehem where special sheep were kept
This was the place where Temple sheep for sacrifice were prepped.
So these sheep kept by these shepherds were for a special plan?
That’s right, these sheep were used as the sacrificial lambs
Say What!? Bro no way, So God was not confused?
When he sent his angels to give these guys the news?
So the very ones who’s job it was to raise sacrificial lambs
were first to hear, and from angel lips, that Christ was born, ha! BAM!!
I think your thinker’s thinking thinks very well my man
It almost seems like maybe maybe God has some master plan
Jesus, after all, is the Holy Lamb of God
And when the shepherds found him they knelt before him awed
The things the angels told them were true, it was exactly as they said
They found the baby as the angels told them, lying in his manger bed
And this is where the joy kicked in. Lives forever interrupted
From deep inside those shepherds hearts the joy simply erupted!
They dashed away to every person yelling like town criers
We’ve seen him, he’s here, he’s here, Yahweh has sent messiah!
And once the news was spread around they returned full of joy
Praising God for what they’d seen. Jesus, messiah the baby boy
An interruption not with pain but joy that fills your soul
It’s what you experience when you find Jesus and he make your life whole
Let me tell you a story of a long ago time
When I was a wee kid maybe seven maybe nine
And I went to the fair with my uncle and auntie
And with my two cousins named Stephen and Jamie
The fair is a place like a huge carnival
Packed out with people like Ufulu festival
People were eating and drinking and laughing
Clowns walked on stilts. There was singing and dancing
To a boy of my age it was completely mesmerizing
Everything was new everything surprising
My uncle knelt down before we all played
He gave me a warning and this is what he say-‘d
“Now Jef, listen here, this is important my lad
You’re here with only us, not your mom or your dad
You need to pay attention and stick close to us, you hear?
If you do that than you’ll have nothing to fear
But if you don’t do that and wonder away
You’ll be lost in an instant in this bustle and fray
Jef, I’m telling you to stay close to us please
It’s the number one safest place you can be.”
We walked on together, my family and me
Looking and laughing and enjoying completely
When the crowd parted way and I saw something new
Something amazing, fantastic so I pushed my way through
Shoving and pushing past bodies to see
This thing of all things ‘til it was in front of me
A mechanical structure that climbed way in the sky
And on it sat people who would soar way up high
Imagine, I thought, just imagine the view.
I want to go up there. I want to fly too!
The people on board swooped down with great joy
I muttered, this has got to be the biggest biggest toy –
I have ever seen in my life, from the day I was born
I’d even ride this over a rainbow unicorn!
Uncle Jim, look at this, would you look at this ride!
Uncle Jim, I said look it’s right here beside…
Uncle Jim… Uncle Jim… my fun suddenly lost
And not only my fun but me too at great cost.
People were everywhere passing me by
not a single one looking like an Uncle Jim kinda guy
imagine my horror and terror right now
for I was completely and utterly lost without knowing how –
to find my way back to my uncle and auntie
What have I done! They are gone, yes, completely
My imagination kicked in with great force
And set me even further off of my course
My vision was blurred as tears filled my eyes
And all the people round me started looking like bad guys
Was that man laughing at me here all alone?
Did he think it funny? I thought with a groan
Is that woman happy I’m lost in this place?
Thinking, “serves him right for wandering off in such haste”
Did that mean boy push me on purpose just now
As the tears now fell freely because I didn’t know how –
To get to the place where I needed to be
Why didn’t I listen and stay in safety?
Why did I disobey and wonder off on my own?
Now I’m lost, I’m scared, I’m alone
Than in a panic my stomach turned to hot lard
As a hand landed, smack, on my shoulder quite hard
I’ve been grabbed and kidnapped, will I die in this place
And that’s when I looked at my kidnapper’s face
Uncle Jim! It is you! Oh thank God that you’re here
I’ve been trembling and trembling and trembling with fear
“Have no fear, my dear boy, for I bring you good news
I’m here with you now, shake off all your blues
I’m here with you now my sweet little boy
Let’s replace all that terror with laughter and joy”
And that’s just what happened on that warm summer day
I stuck close to my family as we went off to play
Now just as in my story in real life it is true
We are lost in our sins and there’s nothing we can do.
We can look high we can look low
We can stop, we can go
We can climb a high mountain to breath in the view
We can swim deepest oceans all the way through
We can read every book in English and French
We can build our own rocket with a ratcheting wrench
We can fly to the moon, take one giant leap
We can start following people like some kind of creep
We can give of our time to the greatest in need
We can give all our money so the hungry we feed
We can be kind we can be nice
We can show love we can bring peace
We can dig with a shovel through sand, stone and rock
We can talk we can talk we can talk we can talk
But we can’t get away from the sin in our hearts
We can’t on our own because that’s not our part!
Our part is to trust in the one who can do it
Our part, like the shepherds, is to bow down and submit –
To the one who was born where animals were eating
Yet who’s birth had a whole host of angels announcing
In this act of submission the lost will find joy
But to find joyful salvation we need a savior to employ
This brings me to my second point, the first one, Joy, is done
Let’s take a look at our scripture again to see another one
Back to Luke and chapter two let’s read now verse eleven
Where angels introduce the guy whose address is heaven.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
A savior was born because we needed one guys
That’s what the bible helps us to realize
The angels foretold it to shepherds of sheep
Messiah would make our salvation complete
Imagine that moment how grand would it be
Imagine those shepherds and the sight that they see
Have you fallen asleep in a deeply dark room?
And than staggered out sleepily to the brightness of noon?
You can’t open your eyes in that intense sunlight
Well, imagine the shepherds on that darkest of nights
Sitting in darkness on a hill with their sheep
Eyes feeling heavy and not far from sleep
When all of a sudden, the darkness is gone
Banished completely as God’s glory shone
Telling the news that Messiah arrived
And that they should go visit Jesus at 21 Manger drive!
The Messiah! they must have thought, could it really be true?
Will we witness the birth of the King of the Jews?
This Roman oppression, will it soon come to an end?
What manner of man did our God to us send?
But did they look deeper than that? Than a physical king?
Or were they stuck on the idea of that kind of thing?
Did they know that this child with his franken sense rattle?
Was so much more than a militant king to fight battles?
He was the king who would set things to right
By piercing the darkness with glorious light
And the light shown in the darkness and it was not overcome
Satan was defeated, it was over, it was done!
We needed this savior, Messiah, God’s son
We needed him, he came, and he got the job done!
One day at the beach I was swimming with friends
And we decided, “lets swim out as far as we can”
A stupid idea but we were teenagers
I think near the age of that Wilson kid Granger
As so as we swam further away from the shore
Suddenly my friend Danielle couldn’t swim anymore
Exhaustion had struck and she started to sink
“I’m too tired,” she said, “won’t make it back, I think.”
Her arms became frantic as she fought with the waves
Battling desperately that watery grave
We were too far to help and the lake was too choppy
We yelled, “keep swimming Danielle, someone’s coming to help thee!”
And there coming quickly yes swimming with vigor
Was the muscular life guard! Danielle had a savior!
He swam with great strength and he reached her in time
She gasped a deep breath, absolutely divine
He pulled her ashore where she embraced solid ground
Her life almost lost, once again was it found
Friends, maybe your sinking and gasping for air
Finding your life difficult, dangerous, unfair
Maybe it’s joy that you’re lacking within
Maybe it because you’re medicating with sin –
When sin is a poison that tastes smooth and sweet
But no matter how much you taste you’ll never feel complete
There’s only one guy whose got that kind of power
I hope you’ve been listening for the last half an hour
If you don’t know Jesus he can transform your life
He can give you great joy and peace from your strife
If with Jesus your tight and have tasted salvation
Than check out this brilliant Bible citation
Look now at Luke chapter 2 verse nine-teen
There’s something so vital for us Christian’s to glean
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The birth of our savoir is a treasure for us
In this beautiful moment in the life of Jesus
There’s no persecution, no hatred, no scorn
There’s no anger or evil the night he was born
There’s no scheming by leaders or stones from the crowd
There’s so whippings, no beatings, no blood soaked thorny crown
Just this beautiful moment of mother and son
Adored by the shepherds, God’s glory bright like the sun
A tiny baby, his whole life yet to live
A tiny baby, his whole life yet to give
Where would we be had our savior not come?
Take a moment, like Mary to ponder her Son.
Take a moment, like Mary to think deep on these things
Remember this baby, our savior, King of kings.
The greatest interrupter the world has ever known
Died. Defeated death. Resurrected. Now on high enthroned.
Well now I must thank you for all of your time
For letting me preach to you holey in rhyme
But before I go I have one thing to say
So don’t pack your bag or stand yet, ok?
My mischievous nature must take one more action
And leave you to answer just one final question.
When was the last time you sat there residing
For 32 minutes with a Canadian guy rhyming?
Thank you! Grab yourself some Joy this Christmas!!