Summary: In this message, we will see how the birth announcement of the King of Kings wasn’t delivered to the rich or royal, but it was instead delivered in the least expected place. It was delivered to some lowly shepherds.
When people send out baby shower invitations, they primarily mail them to family and friends. I once saw a really funny movie, a comedy, where a couple sent out fake shower announcements when they weren’t really going to have a baby. They were in debt and needed some money to pay off their bills, and they had hoped to receive some gifts of “cash” from the baby shower. And what they didn’t receive in cash they had planned to exchange at the store for some cash.
When they contemplated who all to send an announcement to, they considered only those who were wealthy. They even mailed announcements to people they didn’t know, if they happened to be rich. Now, this movie might sound far-fetched, but when sending out baby shower announcements, there are probably some people who really do take into account who has money and who doesn’t. Announcements for any major event, more often than not, are mailed to those who’re deemed well-off or influential.
However, this morning we’re going to see how the birth announcement of the King of Kings wasn’t delivered to the rich or royal, but it was instead delivered in the least expected place!
They Heard the News of Salvation (vv. 8-14)
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Right here we see the account of how the news of the Savior’s birth was initially announced to the world. And who first received this “good tidings of great joy” (v. 10)? Some lowly shepherds did! From our viewpoint we might not think too much about the significance of the shepherds; however, the revelation of the newborn Christ being shared specifically with them was a huge event, and tells us a great deal about God’s concern for people in all levels of society.
“The Shepherds were viewed by the people of Israel as common thieves, they were not allowed to give testimony in court and they could not take part in the ceremonial sacrifice.”(1) “Their job demanded a lonely, rugged existence. As part of that, they were despised by the religious establishment.”(2) Shepherding is really dirty work, and sheep smell. If you spend a lot of time around them, you’ll smell too! Because of this, the Shepherds were considered ceremonially unclean.
To put it plain and simple, the shepherds were the outcasts of society; and yet God decided to announce the birth of the Christ to them first! The King of Kings was not intended only for the elite of society, or solely for the religious establishment. He was given as a gift to all people; and the Lord revealed this truth by instructing the angels to emphatically announce, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (v. 10); and they also said, “On earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (v. 13); and “men” here is plural. The gift of God’s Son was provided for the entire world; for each and every person!
What exactly was the news that was shared with the shepherds? It was this: “There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (v. 11). The real news here was the announcement of the Savior! The Savior and Messiah had been foretold for many centuries, and prophesied to be born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem was likely called the city of David, because David’s great-grandfather Boaz was from Bethlehem (Ruth 2:4), and that’s where His lineage began.
When the wise men came looking for Jesus and met with Herod, he asked them where the Christ was to be born, and they replied, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel’” (Matthew 2:5). The prophet to whom they referred was Micah, and I wish to read his prophecy from Micah chapter 5: