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Perhaps you’re surprised I would ask the question in the title.

Please allow me to explain myself.

Jesus was and is God Almighty incarnate. The Creator of everything: time, space, gravity, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and all creatures that exist—in the body of a human being. This Creator God, innocent and holy, chose to come to Earth to be mocked, sacrifice Himself, and suffer punishment to free from slavery and sin the people He had created.

Yes. The Creator of all things purposed to be hated and die.

The birth of Jesus is a wonder-beyond-words event, unlike any other in the history of the world. How would you have announced it? Don’t hurry to answer this question. To spur your thinking, how would you announce that a famous speaker was coming to your church? Would you drive out into a rural area and tell some people who were harvesting strawberries or picking apples? Who were wrangling cattle? Well, that’s something like how the Lord did it. After an angel appeared to a group of shepherds out in a field and said, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10–12)1, this happened:

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:13–14).

Just another night in shepherd paradise, right? Can you imagine? This had never happened before and would never happen again. A whole bunch of angels standing and praising the Lord right in front of the bewildered shepherds.

So, in our I-wouldn’t-do-it-that way scenario, the ranch and orchard laborers would be standing in a field or in a copse of trees seeing perhaps hundreds—we’re not told the number—a multitude—of angels praising God. That might change one’s perspective. You might lay down your work gloves, or climb off the ladder, or stop moving cows, and just let your jaw drop open.

This marvelous, beautiful, heaven-sent announcement and praising was in front of a few dirty, probably not-so-good-smelling shepherds.

Nothing wrong with shepherds. Scripture is full of positive examples, most notably David and Jesus. But, let’s be honest—these shepherds were poverty-stricken nobodies. They had voices, but they were small. They did not have the power to issue decrees, announcements, or proclamations. Just some guys with a boring job punctuated by moments of terror from the attacks of deadly beasts.

Why didn’t God choose a better method—from our way of thinking—of announcing this stupendous, world-changing event?

Really, Lord? Shepherds?

Yes. You’ve already thought of the answer. His ways are not our ways.

However, we should bring to mind the words the Lord put in Mary’s mouth when the fetus of John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb. Her praise included scattering the proud in the thoughts of their hearts, bringing down the mighty, exalting the humble, filling the hungry with good things, and sending the rich away empty (Luke 1:46-55).

Is it safe to say that scattering the proud in their thoughts might include powerful economic, religious, and political leaders not being told their Creator was born?

So, where does this put Christian believers this Christmas?

In humility’s place, I hope. In understanding that the people the Lord chooses are rarely those of high esteem and more often people like poor, unknown shepherds. He didn’t want nor need the high and mighty for this task.

He wanted the nobodies.

That’s just the way He works.

Really, Lord? Shepherds?



1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy



Was Jesus happy?

Oh, I know, I know. Recent video portrayals of Him show Him laughing, joking with the disciples. Only problem is, no biblical evidence for this exists.

Ok, Jim, so now you’re going to advocate for a humorless, somber Christianity. Great, Jim. Just great.

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I know it’s hard to hear—but Jesus doesn’t trust you—or me. Or anyone. We shouldn’t feel bad. If we stop and think about it, scripturally, why should He trust us? He knew what was in man: “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:23–25). 1

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This may seem like an odd title for a post, I suppose, but I’m endeavoring to add a note of truth to the beautiful account of Jesus’ birth in the stable; a fuller understanding of who this Baby was, in His immense glory. The impotent infant Jesus we read about in those accounts in Matthew and Luke left His home in heaven, more magnificent than we can imagine, possessing more power than we can imagine, to this dark, rebellious planet, so he could…die. He has called all Christians to enter into that self-denying-I-will-die-for-God-and-others life, as well. Please keep this in mind when someone tells you that you should live a purpose-driven life.

But I digress.

This God-in-the-flesh Man is called, among many other things, a Prince of Peace. Why is that?

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Last week, the question was asked, “Does everybody need a king, even one that some might consider oppressive?

The answer I offered: Yes, and no.

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Everybody needs a king.

Why would I say such a thing? Kings have been largely disasters throughout human history. In fact, their pervasive and often evil existence is one of the reasons representative democracy sprang into flower. You might have a good king once in a while, but then the sons and daughters who follow may be wicked and vile. The same can surely be said of most dictators, rulers and despots. As Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

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This is an interview that Frank Viola did with Scot McKnight concerning his book, The King Jesus Gospel. Worth the read.


The Bible is full of amazing statements. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that the Bible is amazing from cover to cover. However, at different times in our lives, some portions are “made real” to us. They stand out. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes and causes the truth of those verses to crash into our understanding about the nature of God.

Here is one such passage, and it just absolutely, completely astounds me. At different times when I have shared it with others, I can barely keep myself from crying. It’s from Luke 12, and Jesus has been talking for some time about money, possessions and the things of this world. He tells us to give to the poor and store up treasure in heaven, not on the earth—this is in verse 33. In verse 34 He says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

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Jesus made it clear that He came to serve: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25–28).

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