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. Luke 2:8-10 (NIV)
Who were the first to see baby Jesus?
Who would you tell first? It’s the most amazing event in your whole life, in the entire universe! Would you tell your spouse or best friend first or would you post it on social media? Would you celebrate with a random person nearby or the most important person in your life? With whom would you share the good news?
God chose the shepherds (after Mary and Joseph, of course). Only society’s bottom tier heard directly from God’s angel. Shepherds were the youngest or weakest of the family, the crippled, those incapable of other jobs. They lived in the field, perhaps in community with other shepherds. The field was their home which reminds me of those sleeping on the streets, those discarded by society.
Why did Godchoose these men of low statusas the first to see baby Jesus? Why were they his special, most honored ones? They certainly welcomed and spread the good news, but did the town’s people believe? Would we believe?
God hand-selected the shepherds to receive the angelic birth announcement. How does this affect our view of those at the low end of society? (tweet this)
But perhaps there’s a second reason God chose the shepherds. The lambs used for Temple sacrifices were born and raised outside of Bethlehem. Let’s connect the dots. These shepherds were the first to see nearly every lamb sacrificed in the Temple. How appropriate that they would be the first to see God’s sacrificial lamb!