| The Leffler Family reads Luke 2: 8-12 | Nate Smith sings Rose of Bethlehem | Ben shares a meditation on shepherds |
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” [Luke 2:8-12]
Jacob, the man who wrestled with God and became Israel was a shepherd.
Moses, the man who led the Israelites out of slavery was a shepherd.
David, the man after God’s own heart and whose bloodline carried the promise of the Messiah was a shepherd.
There are numerous occasions in God’s Word where prophets described both God Himself as well as the promised Messiah as a shepherd.
At the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherd’s were treated as filth. It was forbidden to buy wool, milk or sheep from them as the assumption was that it was stolen. They were not allowed to hold public office or testify in court. There was a saying among the Jews that “one should never feel obligated to rescue a shepherd who has fallen into a pit.”
Why would angels come to shepherds to tell them about the birth of Jesus?
One idea that occurs is that God has regularly used the humble, the outcast, the leper, the overlooked, the ignored to take part in His glorious works. It is one of the graces of our Creator that He is like a father with a young child who’s eager to help with clumsy hands and small stature. He does not need our help, but He welcomes it and lovingly asks for it.
Then there’s the logical idea that when you want to share something exciting with someone, it’s best to pick someone with the relevant experience and knowledge to appreciate it. Who better than shepherds to welcome the Good shepherd? Who better than shepherds to welcome the Lamb of God Who would take away the sins of the world?
There are numerous possible reasons for God to choose the shepherds. God’s reasons are His own and regardless of what they are one thing stands out to me:
Every man, woman and child is made in the image of God. We may forget the value, the importance, the merit of those on the fringes of society. God does not.
Father, never let us make little of that which You consider worth dying for. If there are shepherds in our lives, whatever their actual vocation, help us to recognize and treasure all those whom You love.