“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, ‘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.’ 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 2:8-14)
God breaks into time, space, and history in the birth of Jesus Christ, and we see angels announcing this momentous occasion by appearing to shepherds watching their flocks throughout the night. It’s interesting that God chooses to make this announcement to shepherds, not to kings or princes, not to the religious leaders, not even to middle class citizens, but to the lowest social class among Jews. Shepherds were very much looked down upon. They were not trusted. They were viewed as thieves and liars. In New Testament times their testimony was not admissible in a court of law because they were thought to be unreliable. Yet, the angel first appears to shepherds. This is one of the paradoxes of God. The King of kings and Lord of lords often reveals himself and chooses to use the lowest of men to do his bidding. If you were going to share some internationally important news, would you not share that information with the heads of state, major news networks, the most powerful people in the world? Not God. He chooses to announce the birth of the Messiah to shepherds.
Announcing the birth of the Messiah to shepherds does two things. First, it shows that the greatest gift to humanity has been given to the lowest of men. In Luke 5:31 Jesus will say, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” God did not come for the rich and powerful; he came for those who recognize their need for a savior. Second, revealing this news to shepherds shows that God does not need the rich and powerful to accomplish his will. This announcement is first made to lowly shepherds and within one-hundred years it will spread throughout the Mediterranean world. By the end of the 4th century, Christianity becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire and spreads across Europe. And it all starts with shepherds in a field watching their sheep by night.
The angel then says, "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.” The angel announces that Jesus is the Christ (Greek for Messiah, which means “anointed one”). Jesus is the Anointed One, the long-awaited Messiah, the son of David, prophesied about one-thousand years earlier who would establish a kingdom forever. And this promise has been fulfilled this night in the town of Bethlehem and these shepherds are the first to be given the news. They probably thought to themselves ‘why us?’ Why is this being revealed to us, shepherds, the one group of people no one is ever going to believe? God wanted to make clear that no one is beyond the love and grace of God. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you are the lowest of the low. This gift is for you. This gift is for all people. This gift is for all the world.
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies