7 He has done excellent thing

Luke 2:8-20
Isaiah 12:1-6

T The appearance of shepherds

 The event that happened to the shepherds who were in this district is added to the article of Jesus birth. It says, "And in same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night." (2:8).

 I touched it last time that the town of Bethlehem was built on a slightly elevated rocky mountain. When we look down at the bottom from the Church of the Nativity next open space of the good east of the view which Jerusalem looks like in the distance, though there is not green, and it is almost a tasteless field, but called "Shepherd's field " opens. In that tasteless field, shepherds still did pasturage (surely, while sleeping there) of a sheep in the same way. Will it be the professional shepherds who receive sheep of people of some, and put it out to pasture? For the Japanese who was used to the sheep of white curly hair of Yorkshire, a scene that the dozens of black and brown sheep are guided by the long stick of one shepherd, it seems to have got into really another world, I watched it for a while but I did not get tired. Perhaps such scene which lives in the present age is thought to have continued from old days of Abraham.

 To the shepherds who watched over the sheep in the "Shepherd's field", the angel of the Lord came. "And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.'"(9-12) There is it that the glory of the Lord "shone around them"; this angel would appear to them with the state of brilliant. It was for "the glory of the Lord". It can be heard the testimony that this angel has been sent by the Lord. I do not know whether this angel is Gabriel or not, but I feel the same place which overlaps with the situation of appearing to Zacharias and Mary. He begins to tell that "I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people.". "Do not be afraid"; it may be heard as the advice of the faith in the same case of Zacharias and Mary.


U To the people far away

 Though a detailed thing seems to be said, but I want to watch one thing. It is the place for "for all the people"; I reproduce this closely; this is the way of speaking called [for all + definite article + the people (Singular)], and the content of "people" changes whether to translate the definite article. ...(Because this part is a problem of translation of the Japanese Bible, I omit it.)... By the way, "shepherds" are the leading role of this scene. It has been said that an occupation to get a product from the soil was the holiest in Israel. Therefor, shepherd would be No. 1 of a holy occupation. Such as the wealthy, the Pharisee, the scribes, and the landowner, had an occupation in the name particularly, and it seems to have been overwhelmingly many "shepherds". They owned a lot of sheep and pushed the care to the other people, and they did not even smell the smell of the sheep by oneself. The real shepherds were thought to be the most low-class people. When we think in this way, it is felt that most of Jewish shepherds would be Arabs or foreigners. Much foreigners called Bedouin seem to undertake the work of these most of local breeding of sheep. Because Luke doesn't touch anything, I only say by the imagination; but the people who are concerned to Jesus's birth, the people who come out from 2:1-7, might be Jew definitely. However, Luke would have the repulsion to the Jew who is the indifference, so he inserted the article of shepherds expressly to here. If they were foreigners like Luke, it is able to nod why Luke told them the central message of Jesus at here. And if those shepherds were foreigners, this "people" is not limited with the Jew, but may it be able to understand that it is "all the people" including even us Japanese? The Gospel of Jesus was never told to only Jews, but foreigners are the leading role; this will be thought of foreigner Luke. And, we who live in Japan which is modern, timewise, and spatially far away, are also not outsiders at all, too. I think that there may be the greatest reason why shepherds appeared there.


V He has done excellent thing

 They heard a message from God. "For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.". When they heard it, it will be certain that they took it as a message from God. The prophet was cut off, the priest also fell down to the performer of the courtesy of the religion and the King was foreigner Herod; in Judea at that time, people who pass on a message from God were the scribes, and Pharisees who managed a synagogue. However, they heard a message from God, but did not pass it on, and only brandished single-mindedly the law type, "Do not do it", it was made by predecessors. Possibly, in those days, a message from God was told to the shepherds who may have been a foreigner, not a leader but poor; we feel a mysterious plan of God in it. First of all, God told a message of the salvation to the people who feel distantly far from God. And they took it as the message to them.

 "City of David"; when we look up it from the place where they were, it is there immediately. For them, it was one of country villages which were not rare. When they heard it, "And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger." (12), they ran to that town. An angel, and the large army of heaven, and a great chorus to echo in the sky... There is not any surprise for them anymore. "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." (15); they ran up the top of the hill while being excited. Praise of the large army of the sky; would it surely resemble to sing "a hallelujah chorus" by several thousand people,? No, I imagine it would be more than it. Some people says, in what language were they singing? But I don't care such a thing at all that two wheels, glory of God and the peace of the ground are seemed to be an central reason of the theology of Jesus, but these shepherd clearly understood the center of the praise and memorized it. But, at the time of Jesus birth, we human being must learn that the world of God which was even not able to glimpse it to human, was opened. Such a special event happened, for us and for God!

 It is small country village. They located where Jesus was born. It was true that angel had said. Surely, like doctors of that east, they would worship and prostrate themselves to young Jesus (Matthew 2:11). And they testified what looked and heard. They became the first witness of Jesus. It has an impression that was performed here and there of the town. The people who heard the testimony were surprised, however Luke did not touch at all about the people who rushed to Jesus. The Jews, the person who sent interest to birth of Jesus, were nobody. It seems to be totally the modern society. However, the poor shepherds who protruded from such a society came back with pleasure. Shall we praise the Lord with them that Jesus has come to us, as they praised like this? "Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent thing" (Isaiah 12:5)