Someone once said that one of the hardest things to do as a preacher is to read the Bible for yourself, not for other people. What do I mean by this? Well, it’s easy for me, or really any preacher to read the Bible looking for something to preach, instead of reading the Bible the right way.
What is that right way?
Reading the Bible listening for God. What is God trying to say to us in that passage? What is His voice trying to share with us? Listening for what God wants to say.
Not looking for a sermon.
Today was kind of like for me. Every little thing that happened, I thought, oh, I can do a reflection on that. And some good stuff happened today. We started off by a few of leaving a little early to go to St. George’s Cathedral right down from our hotel. It’s the Anglican Cathedral here, and it’s beautiful.
Then with the group, we went to the Israeli Museum where we saw one of my favorite things here, a to scale model of what Jerusalem would have looked like in the first century It shows the scope and scale of the temple. By the way, if you would like to see all my pictures, go check them out on Facebook.
Then, we went to the Herodian. This was one of Herod’s many palaces. This one was in Bethlehem and is quite beautiful. The thing that was impressive to me about it was that Herod moved another mountain to build it, giving a little be of context to Jesus talking about faith that could move mountains.
From there, the first thing that I though I may reflect upon happened. At lunch we ate with some fellow Christians. There are not many Christians left in the Holy Land now. And, after being around so many people of so many faiths, it was something very sweet about being with another Christian. Something you could feel. Something awesome.
Do we feel that way in the States? Or do we compete with each other? Do our churches feel that way in the states? Or do we compete with each other. We need that sweet spirit of realizing that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Imagine if we really felt that way about each other in the States? Imagine if we, if our churches, didn’t compete so much. Imagine if we just tried to love each other as brothers and sisters.
Then, we went to the Church of Nativity. This is the traditional, and authentic (meaning real) spot of the birth of Jesus. We don’t know exactly where it happened in that area. But we know that it happened there. But, here was the problem. This church we were in, they were having church. So, we had to wait until they finished. And we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited.
And it was very easy to get frustrated. There must have been (literally) a 1000 folks behind us. And I thought we would never get it to see what we can to see! It was so frustrating waiting.
And it hit me. There was I was, in a worship service, not realizing that God was being praised right before me because I was tired of waiting. I was so impatient, I had missed the worship of God, because I was not looking. Now, this worship was in another language. But still! I almost missed it.
What do we almost miss because we are tired of waiting?
And this is where God showed me what to share today!
I knew the shepherds were raising sheep, but it never really occurred to me what for. Never really thought about why they’d be raising sheep. Have you?
They were raising sheep for the temple. These sheep they were raising, they were to become sacrifices at the altar. These sheep were to be sacrificed there at the temple.
That’s what the shepherds where doing. That’s what they were raising.
And these are the ones that the angels appeared to. The angels came to the ones that were raising lambs and told them that The Lamb was born. The Lamb that was slain before the foundations of the world.
The lamb that had come to take away the sins of the world, once and for all. The lamb that was to be the perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins.
The first ones to hear the Good News of the Lamb of the New Covenant were the ones raising the lambs of the Old Covenant. God was brining about completion and fulfillment. God’s plan was at work.
And they got to be part of it.
Today, God has a plan that is bigger than me. Bigger than you. Bigger than each of us. God will accomplish His plan, and the great thing is that He wants to use us, me, and your to do that.
The first people to hear that the New Covenant had come where the ones raising lambs for the Old Covenant. God was doing a new thing. Bringing new life. New hope. New peace. New join.
He is at work in your for something good. Look for it. Live into it. He is at work. He has a plan.
Let us take part in it! Let us join in to His amazing life and amazing plan!