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Birth of Jesus

Shepherds and the Angels

Scripture

Luke 2:8-20

Commentary

This is a part of the well known Christmas story.  While many focus on the miraculous appearance of the angels and their message, it is more noteworthy to whom they are speaking.

Shepherds appear throughout the Bible.  David is perhaps the most notable shepherd, facing a lion and a bear before he took on Goliath.  He was a symbol of bravery and strength.  Jesus declared that He was the Good Shepherd.  He cared for His sheep and would lay down His life to protect them.

While Jesus holds shepherds up as a good example, they did not enjoy such favor among the people in Jesus' time.  They were considered scoundrels and untrustworthy.  Their testimony was not even considered reliable in court.  Nevertheless, these are the first people to be told about Jesus' birth.  Men who were not considered reliable witnesses in court would be the first witnesses to the birth of the Messiah.

As the angels announce Jesus' birth to the shepherds, it is a sign of things to come.  Jesus would lovingly reach out to the outcasts of society.  He would spend time with sinners such as prostitutes and tax collectors.  All people matter to God, not just the powerful and wealthy.  This is shown in God's first choice to announce the birth of the Savior.

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