Summary: The shepherds were the most unlikely ones to announce the Savior’s birth, but they were dependable in their job.

The unlikely Recipient of the Glorious Announcement

Turn in your bibles to Luke 2:8-20

John Hamby

The telling of the Christmas story can be such a familiar and common experience that we miss the significance of it. With the annual repetitions the [knowledge] of the story of the shepherds can cause us to take it for granted, to overlook just how amazing this incident is.

Lets try to take a closer look at it this year

Hamby goes on to say, “Who does God announce the birth of his son to? Too whom would you expect the announcement to go? We could see how God might choose to announce the birth of Christ to Herod the king. …. To announce the birth in a splendid ceremony in the Temple led by the High Priest. But no, and we question why he would choose a ragtag band of shepherds.

The only invitation from God to anyone to come and visit Mary and Joseph and the infant Jesus is to a group of shepherds. At best the shepherds were common, ordinary folks. They were not the socially elite. Most likely these shepherds were tending their sheep just outside of Bethlehem and the sheep they were tending were probably sheep being prepared for the temple sacrifices. They were the last people that you’d expect God to take notice of.

Lu 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Lu 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

Lu 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Lu 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

Lu 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Lu 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Lu 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Lu 2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. {the shepherds: Gr. the men the shepherds}

Lu 2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Lu 2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

Lu 2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

Lu 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Lu 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

1. The shepherds were the Disgraceful of Society

2. The shepherds received the Declaration from the Angels

3. The shepherds were Dependable in proclaiming the News

1. The shepherds were the Disgraceful of Society

a. Lu 2:8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

i. JFB - abiding in the fields--staying there, probably in huts or tents.

One Writer

b. There were shepherds . . . in the fields nearby. The joyous event was not announced to dignitaries in palaces but to lowly shepherds working the night shift. This is in keeping with what Mary says in Luke 1:52, that God "has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble."

c. These shepherds would also be looked down upon by their countrymen. Shepherds, as you will recall, were “[disgusting]” to the Egyptians (Gen. 43:32; 46:34); they were also poorly thought of by their own brethren “Shepherds were despised people. They were suspected of not being very careful to distinguish ‘mine’ and ‘thine’; for this reason, too, they were debarred from giving evidence in court” (Strack-Billerbeck, in loc.).

Bruce Goettsche

Also says, It is possible that these Shepherds took care of the Sheep that were used for sacrifices in the temple in Jerusalem. These sheep had to be especially cared for because the lamb had to be “without blemish”.

Shepherds didn’t have the best of reputations. Because they were out with sheep and often had to kill predators, they were almost always “unclean” so the seldom (if ever) were allowed to worship at the temple. Their social skills were not very good since they spent their times in the pasture talking to sheep. They had a reputation as being untrustworthy in court and many said Shepherds had a difficult time being honest.

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