“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12
In Jesus’ day shepherding was not a popular career choice. They tended the animals that were to be used for the temple sacrifices and the nature of their work made them ceremonially unclean. Socially, they were despised and considered so unreliable they weren’t eligible to be witnesses in court.
But God saw them differently. Breaking the norms of social status, he chose shepherds to be the first to hear of the birth of Jesus. And it was a spectacular, awe-inspiring announcement. An angel appeared to the shepherds in the brightness of God’s glory. They were terrified, but the angel told them not to fear for the savior, Messiah, had been born.
“Suddenly (as if to certify the message) a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (vv. 13-14)
The shepherds believed the message and went to search out the things they’d been told, hurrying off to find Mary and Joseph, and the baby. The shepherds then became enthusiastic witnesses giving first-hand testimony about what they had seen and heard: “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.” (vs. 17)
These lowly shepherds then returned to the fields and went back to their work—as changed men and the blessed beneficiaries of God’s great revelation.
Like the shepherds will you believe and spread the angel’s message?
Having begun as a guest speaker in 2005, Dan was appointed Interim Pastor in 2008 and has been serving Maple Root Baptist ever since. As a small group leader and Chaplin for the Connecticut Tigers, Dan has a heart for the lost and the God that saves them.