Sermon Tone Analysis

Overall tone of the sermon

This automated analysis scores the text on the likely presence of emotional, language, and social tones. There are no right or wrong scores; this is just an indication of tones readers or listeners may pick up from the text.
A score of 0.5 or higher indicates the tone is likely present.
Emotion Tone
Language Tone
Social Tone
Emotional Range

Tone of specific sentences

Social Tendencies
Emotional Range
< .5
.5 - .6
.6 - .7
.7 - .8
.8 - .9
> .9
Last week we looked at a forgotten character in the Christmas story: Simeon.
While he is one that is easily missed in the story of Christ’s birth...
There are few more recognizable characters surrounding the story of the first Christmas than who we are looking at this week.
The shepherds in the story of Christ’s birth are a staple at every nativity scene
ILLUSTRATION: As I kid, I can remember bing in programs where I hadn’t quite reached the level of Shepherd, but I fit great as a sheep.
EXPLANATION: The Shepherds were the first people, outside of the immediately family, to learn of the birth of Jesus.
It’s an extraordinary thing, because the angels could have appeared to anyone.
They could have appeared to royalty.
They could have appeared to the political class
They could have appeared to the priests and the religious crowd who may have had some sway.
But the angels appeared to the shepherds.
The shepherds were the lowest of society.
If you couldn’t do anything else, you would resort yourself to being a shepherd.
Shepherds were looked down upon.
They were considered to be dishonest and unclean according to the standard of the law.
Because of that they weren’t even allowed to be a witness in a trial.
And yet, on this star filled night in Bethlehem, it was to these humble shepherds in a field that the message of Christ’s birth was proclaimed.
What a stunning scene it was.
Just like any other night, they were attending to their job, taking care of the sheep.
They were just punching the clock
It’s interesting that such lowly people would be put over such an important job.
While normally shepherding sheep wouldn’t have been seen as important, these shepherds in Bethlehem didn’t watch over just any sheep.
These sheep had the lambs that were to be used for the ceremonial passover sacrifice.
These were the spotless lambs that carried such great importance to the nation of Isreal.
And they were being cared for by the scum of society… the shepherd.
This night though, their entire lives would change.
v.9, Before them appeared an angel of the Lord.
We don’t know which angel it was, maybe it was Gabriel the messenger angel.
I have always pictured this scene with the angel appearing in the sky with the bright light shining around him… and that may have been the case.
But the Bible doesn’t say he was floating in the air… but the glory of the Lord did shine around them so we got that right.
They were just out doing there job when all of the sudden, an angel appears with a bright light shining around him.
The Bible sums it up with “they were sore afraid”
What would you do if you turned your head and all the sudden there was someone with a bright light shinning around them standing in front of you?
He gives the announcement of Christ’s birth for the very first time.
Can you imagine trying to process what is happening?
They are just trying to do their job as social outcasts, when an angel scares them to death, then tells them, “Don’t be afraid”
But what the angel says must have cut to their very core, V.10b-12
They are the scum of society.
They are considered the most dishonest and unclean
They don’t get told good news.
And now they are being told by an angel that he has good news for all people.
What is that news?
That their is a Savior, Christ the Lord, that has just been born.
And to top it off, they could find Him in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
I love this… there are many reasons Jesus was laid in a manger.
It revealed His humility.
The One Who could have been born in a palace chose to be born in a stable, and placed in a manger.
It is more than likely that the manger was made of stone rather than wood as we so often see.
This would have been far more common in that day.
And that stone manger would have given safety and protection to the Baby Christ.
But I think one of the reasons Jesus was laid in a manger was because it was something the Shepherds would have easily recognized.
No doubt, they had spent many a night pillowing their head in the straw of the stable.
They had poured feed into one of these mangers for the animals to eat.
They were very familiar with a manger
And now the God of the universe, and the Savior of the world was being born… but it wasn’t in a palace… it was in a manger.
You know, I think it would have been uncomfortable for the Shepherds to make there way into a place of royalty.
It would have been difficult for them to even find their way into a normal house.
But to enter into a stable to find Jesus in a manger… that was a place that was accessible to even the lowest of society.
ILLUSTRATION: As I was considering what message to preach for this Sunday, considering the different responses of those in the Scriptures, I nearly settled on the reaction of Christ.
I love what Paul wrote about the mind of Christ with regard to His coming in Philippians 2:5-8
No reputation, servant, likeness and fashion of man, and He humbled himself!
Not everyone could come into the presence of a king, but anyone could enter into a stable and make their way to a feeding trough.
ILLUSTRATION: In John 4, Jesus told His disciples He had to go through Samaria!
When He got there, He found His way to Jacob’s well.
It was the middle of the day, most had already come to get there water for the day, when a woman came to get some.
There was a reason she came when she did.
She was an outcast… having had multiple husbands
No doubt she came during midday to avoid the stares, points, and whispers of those that would normally see her.
And on this day, she made her way to the well once again, only to find a man there.
She probably circled around to the other side of the well trying to avoid Him, when He spoke to her, “Give me to drink”
You can kind of see her look around wondering who He was talking to and then say John 4:9
“Why are you talking to me?”
Jesus goes on to tell her: John 4:10
Before that woman left the well on that day, she had drunk of that living water!
Thank God, Jesus came to the well!
That woman wouldn’t have felt comfortable walking into a palace, but she could make her way to a well at the middle of the day.
ILLUSTRATION: In a few hours the sky would turn to black.
The crowds had gathered around, most of whom were cheering for His death.
And there Jesus hung on a cross.
On the one side hung a thief who mocked him, and would in a few short hours open his eyes in the torment of eternity in hell.
But on the other side was another thief who also mocked Him at first, but at some point something had changed.
Now instead of crying out in mockery, he cries out in dependence… Luke 23:42
If it had been any other day, that thief would have died on a cross without hope.
But Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified on that day, so when that thief called out to Him, He would reply, Luke 23:43
That thief couldn’t go anywhere… and Christ allowed Himself to be nailed next to him so that he could come to Christ.
APPLICATION: It’s the wonderful truth of Christ and Christmas.
He came in a humble manner that all can come to Him!
It doesn’t matter if you are the lowest outcast of society, like the Shepherds, you can come to Jesus!
It doesn’t matter what you are past may look like, like the woman at the well, you can come to Jesus!
It doesn’t matter how you’ve been labeled, a thief on a cross, you can come to Jesus.
The two most recognizable locations in all of Christ’s life are unquestionably, the manger and the cross.
And while very different, there is one way they were very much the same… they were both easily accessible.
Anyone could go there.
And friend, that hasn’t changed.
You can find your way to the manger today
You can see Christ in His humility coming to the earth as a King in a stable, lying in a manger!
< .5
.5 - .6
.6 - .7
.7 - .8
.8 - .9
> .9