The Amazing News Entrusted to the Shepherds
One of the mysteries of the Scriptures is the visitors that came to the manger. The Bible tells us in Luke 2 that near to the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, there were shepherds in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. We have no information regarding their understanding or even their knowledge of a coming Messiah. That they were close to Bethlehem, which lies just on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and the fact that they were shepherds, would cause us to conclude that likely they were Jews.
Certainly the appearance of the angels would have notified the shepherds that something earth shattering had occurred. We can understand the shock of these men when the sky filled with a multitude of the heavenly host. The message to the shepherds was that a Saviour had been born and that this event would bring great joy around the world. The shepherds must have known enough about the Scriptures to have immediately left their flocks and headed to Bethlehem, though the appearance in the sky would have been enough.
The interesting part is that while the Jewish religious leaders, the Romans, and the innkeeper were all oblivious to the event, God chose to reveal His Son to these lowly shepherds. It was only later that the wise men from the east came and saw the Child. This teaches of the divine plan and grace of God, for the announcement was not made to everyone, but it was also not given to no one. God, in a miraculous way, revealed to a few poor men that the Saviour of the world had been born.
The response of the shepherds was amazing! The first thing they did was to go and see this thing that had happened (Luke 2:15). The gospel writer then tells us that all who heard it wondered what the shepherds had told them (vs. 18), and finally, “... the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (vs.20). The shepherds realized the necessity to go, the responsibility to tell, and the privilege to praise. So may we too at this Christmas time, encounter Christ, share Him with others, and praise Him for His wonderful Gift.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,
'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”
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