From Thieves to Prophets
A contextually paraphrased imagination of Luke 2:10-20
Ken Jensen | December 16, 2018
East of Bethlehem one cold night, after the barley and wheat had been taken in, a small band of shepherds guarded their flock of sheep. Doing what they could to stay warm, these shepherds shielding themselves from the elements. They were the downcast and lowly of their world. Some shepherds would sell wool and milk off their master’s flock for personal profit – and for this they were often considered as thieves to the common middle class Jew. Nevertheless, these shepherds had a special job, to look after the sacrificial lambs for Temple sacrifice. Every lamb on that hill would one day share the same fate as the Savior Messiah: they would be slaughtered for the sins of men.
But this night would be different than any other evening in Bethlehem.
(10) With a blinding shockwave of otherworldly light, a supernatural messenger from heaven said to this small band of thieves guarding the sheep: Don’t run away! What I have to say to will take your breath away (behold)! I have incredible news that if you stop to think about it, will make you jump up and down for joy – and it’s for everyone. The shepherds now had darted behind the rocks of the countryside and took turns looking at each other; there must be some mistake! Could this message from heaven be intended for us? Even for us, poor men in need of forgiveness? But in the eyes of the angel there was no hesitation, no mistake. This message was for everyone. The angle continued.
(11) Today in the city where the prophets said your Rescuer would come, The Great King (Lord), who has been chosen (anointed) to save all mankind from destruction (Savior), has arrived. He has been born there, an infant.
(12) This is how you will know I’m telling you the truth. Go and find this baby, which has been wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a trough made for animals to eat from.
(13) All of the sudden, it was obvious that this spiritual messenger was not alone. An army of angelic beings stood with him in the stunning array of heaven’s glory and shouted:
(14) Recognize and acknowledge (glory) God, who is in the highest heaven! And to you of good will on the earth, let there be an end to your troubled heart, God’s thoughts toward you are loving and he will remove the distress that your attachment to sin has caused, because he himself, the Lord, will remove it (peace)!
(15) At this statement, the angels made their way back to the highest heaven from the surface of the earth, leaving the Shepherds on the cold dark fields of Bethlehem. There was a moment of silence as the shepherds recovered. Then one of them said, “What are we waiting for, let’s go straight to town so we can see this savior for ourselves! After all, the God of the highest heaven has decided to tell us, we shepherds of all people!
(16) So they ran! They ran all the way to town, dodging the rocks shooting out of the turf and wondering if all this had been a dream. Could God really look upon them with favor? He had been silent for 400 years! But in short order one of them discovered a little cave used to house animals where Jesus was laying in a stall on a bed of fresh straw.
(17) And when these shepherds had seen the confirmation of what the angles had said they had a revelation: The God of the Highest Heaven is now speaking to regular people! We have seen a vision! We have seen angels! We have received the revelation and word of the Lord just like our father Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel did! So the shepherds, the new prophets, did what the prophets did of old: they proclaimed the word of the Lord.
(18) Those who heard the message the shepherds were proclaiming stood in wonder like the people of old used to do at the word of Isaiah, wondering what the message could possible mean - and if they should listen to it.
(19) Mary on the other hand did not view these tidings as strange, but treated each happening of the story as if it were a priceless gem, careful to preserve every part of it in heart.
(20) So the Shepherds returned to their flock in the countryside, but they could not stop describing to anyone who would listen who God was and what he had said. They were regarded as thieves a few hours ago, but now they saw they were regarded as prophets to God. And this was all that mattered. Up from a resurrected identity came a voice of praise from these shepherds. One would sing to his friend and the other would respond singing praise to the Lord. God’s message had been told to them, and they would tell this message to anyone who would listen, even if was to each other and a flock of sheep destined for sacrifice.
Jesus was born, carefully wrapped in a cave for animals, and died, having been carefully wrapped and laid in a tomb of a rich man carved out of pure stone. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, mankind whose destiny was no better than any beast, found he could be resurrected a rich man in his Heavenly Father’s Kingdom. Hope had dawned. This message is for everyone, anyone, who would run to God, and that person will find a miracle: the indescribable peace of Heaven’s Prince will replace a troubled heart with supernatural joy.
A Visual Guide to Bible Events: Fascinating Insights Into Where They Happened and Why; James C Martin, John A Beck, and David G.
Hanson. Pg 146-147
Strong’s Dictionary of the Greek Testament