January 5th 2010

God’s Universal Grace

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.’”

Luke 2:8-11 (NKJV) 

On the day of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago, an amazing thing happened. God revealed the birth of his Son to Shepherds who were minding their sheep in the fields nearby.

 Have you ever wondered why God would reveal this most important of events in history to lowly shepherds, and not to the local dignitaries? 

Shepherds at this time were considered amongst the lowest and most despised of people in the social order of things. They were seen as thieving scoundrels, and therefore not to be associated with. They were like pariahs in their own country! 

God, in his infinite wisdom, however, showed amazing grace to these shepherds, and they in turn responded by making haste to see the newborn Jesus. When they returned to their work they praised and glorified God for all the things that they had heard and seen. (v 20)

 The Apostle James ‘hit the nail on the head’ when he wrote, “But he gives more grace.” Therefore he says,  “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:8). 

Just as God showed grace to these poor, unworthy shepherds some 2000 years ago, so likewise he extends that same grace to us, and to all mankind today. The hymn writer, John Newton summed it up so well in his hymn, Amazing Grace: 

Amazing grace-how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.


Thank You, Father, for the grace which You extended to the Shepherds at the birth of Your Son so many years ago. We are so grateful that Your grace and love still reaches out to us today through Your Son who is now at Your right hand in Heaven.


Study by John Magowan