As we saw yesterday, God loves to meet us in our daily places. We see this with the Magi and God using their expertise as astrologers and in using a star to lead them to the Messiah. God is so intentional with us. He uses our giftings, those around us, and even our daily places. He meets us right where we are, and He loves to invite us from those spaces into His own.
Luke 2:8 tells us about another group who would be invited to meet the Messiah. “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”
They were simply doing their job and living their lives. We can see shepherds throughout Scripture. Being a shepherd at the time of Jesus’ birth was considered a lowly position, labeling them as social outcasts. You may be wondering well King David had been a shepherd and Moses, and so on and so forth. How could this job be lowly? Well, by this point in time all the wealthy moved into town and it leaves the question of who would care for the flocks… the lowly and possibly outcast.
And God chose them to be the first to know of the Messiah’s birth.
What does this tell you about the heart of our Lord? The heart of our Good Shepherd!
Of all the people near or in Bethlehem, God chose those doing their daily work in a local field. God sent angels to them. Then these regular, common men were the first to visit the Messiah. The only ones to receive a personal invitation by God’s messengers.
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” Luke 2:9
How bright do you think God’s glory shown? Of course, they were terrified and startled. This was not the typical peaceful field they would have been experiencing moments before with just stillness and the rustling of their flocks. The angel tells them to not be afraid, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (verse 10)
I bring you – you who by the world’s standards are not esteemed. You will be the first to hear this good news that is for all mankind. The angel continues in verse 11, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” How personal, a Savior has been born to you!
Then the angel tells them that Jesus will be wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Do you think they were trying to take it all in? The Messiah here? Now? Wrapped in simple cloth? In a manager?
“Suddenly 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.” (Luke 2:13-14)
On earth, there can now be peace. For four hundred years of silence between the Old and the New. For the coming of what had been foretold. Emmanuel, God with us.
Once the angels left, the shepherds replied to all this happening to them with belief. “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (verse 15).
So, they hurry off as the next verse tells us. They go in faith. They know the One who sent them the message! They know who they are about to meet. And they know He has entered the world in the lowest of circumstances, wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger. The most unconventional of circumstances. Without even a room of his own, our Savior comes. And He calls you and me into this very place today.
He calls you, not because of your job title or your marital status. He calls you because He loves you. He came that all could come to Him. Our Savior, as a baby to live and grow to become our atonement. To be as the lambs these shepherds were watching.
Another point to ponder, it is said that possibly these shepherds were also those guarding the flocks that would be used in sacrifice. To help them grow and live… for such a purpose.
It doesn’t end there, “When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” Luke 2:17-18
They became the messengers, just as you and I have. We have this great story to share, of the Messiah calling us. God inviting us and changing the world forever.
“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (verse 20).
The shepherds return to the place where the angels had been praising God, with their own praise on their lips for they had heard, and they had seen for themselves. God is with us.