Summary: It was just like any old night for the shepherds. They were out in their fields, literally “taking care of their business.” It was night and all of a sudden the sky lit up. The sky lit up with the glory of the Lord.
Luke 2:8 And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night.
The region Luke mentions in verse eight is the region of Bethlehem. Bethlehem, Bethlehem was about six miles directly south of the city of Jerusalem. It's just a small village, certainly not a city
Down in that region, "There were some shepherds." In the Greek there is no adjective for these shepherds. It literally says, "There were shepherds," just shepherds and this was the most unlikely group to which God's angel proclaims the good news of the Savior.
I wish there was a group in our culture to compare the Shepherds to but I couldn’t think of any. Maybe if you ever were in school and you had to right a paper on what your parent did for a living and some kid wrote a paper on his father who was a surgeon and another kid wrote a paper on her mother who as a lawyer and when it was your turn you felt a little ashamed having to write a paper on a father who was a trash collector.
The shepherds were among the low class and this was exactly the group that the prophet Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would come to. In Isaiah 61, the pre-incarnate Christ speaks about His arrival as Messiah and says “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound…”
These words are actually repeated in Luke 4:18 when Jesus is on the scene in His earthly ministry. When the announcement is made to the shepherds this prophecy is beginning to be fulfilled as the Messiah Jesus is not coming for the “movers and the shakers;” He is not coming for the aristocracy and the elite---He’s coming to the poor; He coming to those who are brokenhearted; the ones who are captive and bound.
Proof of this is seen when He came. He hung around the kind of riff-raff you the average man or woman in our time does not pride themselves with associations. He hangs around the sinners, the prostitutes and the adulterers, the “rip you off” tax men and the drunkards.
In Luke 5:30 the scribes and the Pharisees complained against Jesus’ disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
The announcement is made to the lowly, the outcasts, the dregs of society and that certainly described the shepherds. It is the same today. Research shows a higher rate of belief in Christ among those who are at the lower rung of the societal ladder. It still is “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)
Luke 2:9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
It was just like any old night for the shepherds. They were out in their fields, literally “taking care of their business.” Our passage says it was “night” and all of a sudden (vs. 9) the sky lit up. The sky lit up with the glory of the Lord.
In order to understand what is going on in this passage we need to go back to the Garden of Eden.
In the Garden, after God has created Adam and Even there is no sin. The is a pure fellowship with God and His creation. Since there is no sin, being in the presence of the Lord is not instant death but pure joy.
Genesis 3:8 lets us know that Adam and Eve were accustomed with walking with God and because there was no sin, this was not God veiling His glory so they would not be killed but God’s gloriously shining Shekinah manifestation.
The Bible tells us that sin entered the picture and God could not fellowship with His creation anymore and puts them out of the Garden—not because He didn’t care for them but because He loved them too much for them to be destroyed by His blazing presence (Gen. 3:24).
In Exodus chapter 40 we find instructions to Moses to build the tabernacle. The tabernacle was a tent where God would visit the children of Israel and guide them through the wilderness.
After Moses was finished setting up the tabernacle and putting within it all the articles required by the Lord, Exodus 40:34-35 says, “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”