Jesus Interrupted the Vocation of the Shepherds

 

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

From where?

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. (This was the first census that took place while[a]Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 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.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 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

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 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!!

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