“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 people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11
Of all people groups of the world, God chose shepherds to be the first to hear the angelic birth announcement of His son and the first to see the newborn Messiah with his parents. Surprisingly enough, this special announcement didn’t come to the religious leader nor those in power, leadership, or status. The humble shepherds at the bottom rung of the social ladder were God’s choice. Was it a foreshadowing of Jesus being the Great Shepherd (John 10, Hebrews 13:20) and the ultimate Sacrificial Lamb? These men would certainly understand sheep and the role of a shepherd.
This passage in Luke 2: 8-20 tells us how the shepherds responded the supernatural events that evening that could be a template for us today. In verse 9, when an angel of the Lord appeared to them, accompanied by the light shown from heaven—they were filled with great fear. Nothing like this had ever happened to them. This is sensory overload to say the least and they were terrified. The angel then says, “Fear not” and went on to explain the great news that the Savior of the World had been born.
The Shepherds received a sign to confirm what they were experiencing was not an hallucination, but they would see a baby in swaddling clothes, lying in a manager. As soon as the angelic host and light show ended, they believed what was said and booked it to Bethlehem. One author noted this may be known as the first Christmas Rush. What else did the shepherds do beside have their initial fear calmed, receive a sign and believe?
The shepherds in obedience looked for Jesus.
They found Jesus who matched the sign perfectly.
They worshipped Jesus even though they were considered unclean to enter the temple.
They reported the good news to others, supernatural news that was received. How could they do anything else but share this amazing truth.
They returned on their journey home glorifying and praising God. Undoubtably their lives were forever changed because they experienced firsthand heaven’s ultimate gift given to them and all people…. “The lamb of God that had come to take away the sins of the world.”
Yes, the shepherds modeled an example for all of us to follow.
Pastor Ruth Kaunley