Subscribe in a reader or enter your address to get posts via email: 
Like this blog on Facebook!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Epiphany 2024, part 1

Something felt special about our Epiphany celebration this year. I felt like God was giving me something extra special to share with my family, and I was actually pretty excited about it!

I don't remember if I've mentioned this before, but typically I'll briefly share something with them from the Word that has to do with the Christmas season. This year I had been thinking about sheep. It turns out there are a lot of stories about the Christmas sheep - that the shepherds were special sacrificial sheep shepherds, that they actually would swaddle the baby sheep and put them in mangers to keep them spotless at birth, that the place where Mary and Joseph and Jesus were was the place where the sacrificial sheep were born, that sort of stuff. It's pretty fascinating, and it turns out that most of it is fictional with no credible evidence, Biblical or historical, to back it up. There is nothing significant that we know about the shepherds other than that they were shepherds - guys with jobs, maybe families, just regular Joes.

There is also little or no evidence for another thing I've heard - that shepherds were some kind of reviled lower class. King David was a shepherd, which would likely have elevated the profession already, and Jesus had no problem calling Himself a "good shepherd" - which, if there were negative connotations to the profession, would have changed the whole spin of that declaration.

But isn't it interesting that Jesus saw the people, who were being led poorly by the religious establishment, as "sheep without a shepherd", and extending the metaphor of the people as sheep and the leaders as shepherds, He called Himself "the good shepherd". Which sounds pretty pastoral to us, but keep in mind that for the very best of the actual sheep in that culture, being the best was essentially a death sentence! The spotless and perfect of sheep were to be sacrificed.

The crazy amazing thing is that the "good shepherd" in this case loved the sheep, but He did not halt the sacrifices. Instead, he became a sheep, and allowed Himself to be sacrificed instead! The "Lamb of God" was given up for us, took away our sins, and freed us from the sentence of death. What a plot twist!

Well, I was going to tell you all about the gifts I gave the family this year, but this post is already long enough. Stay tuned for part 2!

No comments: