The Rude Shepherd

The Rude Shepherd

“They came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.”

—Luke 2:16 NASB
It was one of those classic, picturesque Christmas plays at church. The production was nearly finished. Mary and Joseph were in place with baby Jesus around the manger. The lights were low; the choir sang softly in the background. Man-made snowflakes drifted slowly on the scene. The shepherds gathered quietly around. You felt as if you were really there.

But Pete, one of the shepherds, wasn’t satisfied. Blocked by one of the other shepherds, Pete wanted to get closer to the manger. He elbowed the other boy and glared at him as he moved in. A few in the audience chuckled; others were taken aback by the young man’s rudeness.

It was a little embarrassing for a Christmas play, but how realistic! How fitting that there should be a few pokes and shoves at such a momentous occasion. I imagine there was more than one “Let me see!” that first night. Pete’s pushiness was not just realistic but appropriate. The coming of the Messiah is not just an event to behold but an occasion upon which to intrude with as much self-centeredness as possible. Every sinner ought to run to the manger and cry, “Out of my way! Me first! He came because of me!”

That’s how Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, felt. He cared not at all that he was being rude. Parents of desperate children pushed their way to Jesus. Men broke through a roof for their paralyzed friend. And Peter’s approach to Jesus was often one of intrusion—he pleaded with Jesus to clean not only his feet but his entire body.

Crash the nativity scene this year, won’t you? Selfishly cling to the Incarnation as if you were the worst of sinners. Jesus will not mind. He came because of you.

Jesus, you intruded on our planet in a rude visitation. You sought joy for yourself and broke through Satan’s kingdom to reach me. Thank you for your heavenly rudeness.

About Joni and Friends is answering the call in the Gospel of Luke 14, "invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and you will...

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