What Did The Shepherds Bring Jesus

The Real Truth About the Shepherds on That First Christmas Night

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” the prophet Isaiah writes in the book of Isaiah. Luke 2:11 (NIV) On this particular night, the shepherds were out and about, keeping an eye on their flocks of sheep and safeguarding them from predators like they would on any other night of the year. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the angels of heaven arrived and announced the greatest news in the history of news: the birth of Jesus Christ! According to popular belief, the shepherds were impoverished, smelly, and ragamuffin.

Yes, they were smelly and possibly a little untidy, but they were not the destitute, country-bumpkin farmers eking out a livelihood as we’ve always been told they were.

So, who were these shepherds in the first place?

A short look at the responsibilities of Jewish priests reveals everything.

  1. The tale is laid out for us in Luke 2:8–20.
  2. For today, in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you, and his name is Christ the Lord.
  3. They arrived in a hurried manner and saw Mary and Joseph, as well as the infant, who was resting in the feeding trough.
  4. All who heard it were taken aback by the things that the shepherds had said to them in their language.
  5. As the story goes, “the shepherds returned, worshiping and thanking God for everything they had heard and seen, exactly as it had been told to them.” (WEB) The most common narrative we hear about these shepherds is that they were impoverished and filthy.
  6. That is, to a certain extent, correct.
  7. These shepherds, on the other hand, were not outcasts from society.

It is only of the Mishnah that we know they were priests.

The Mishnah is divided into three sections: As stated in one of its commandments, it “expressly bans the keeping of sheep throughout the country of Israel save in the desert —and the only animals that would be allowed to be maintained would be those for the Temple service” (Bab K.7:7; 80a).

As a result, they had to have been priests.

This is due to the fact that the sheep were scheduled to be sacrificed during the Passover celebration.

In another passage from the Mishnah, it is said that the Messiah would be revealed from the Migdal Eder, which translates as “tower of the sheep.” It was a real tower that existed just outside of town, within the grounds of the Temple priests’ compound.

It was the priest’s responsibility to remain in the Migdal Eder throughout the night.

(Isn’t it wonderful how such a small word can convey such a great deal of significance in the Bible?) Given that the shepherds were in the fields on a consistent basis, they were most certainly filthy, but they were not a group of impoverished shepherds.

No matter how you look at it, they were still shepherds in their hearts and minds.

Far if the notion that the angels appeared initially to impoverished, illiterate rural shepherds makes a great deal of sense, the truth is even more compelling.

Among other things, it was their responsibility to prepare the sheep for the Passover holiday and other Jewish festivities.

While it is likely that the shepherds were unaware of what was taking place, the angel was hand-delivering a message to them, informing them that the time for animal sacrifice was drawing to a close, and they were the first to find out.

Luke 2:11 (NIV) He was finally born as the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world, whom the priests had been hearing about from the prophets for hundreds of years.

Now, via His death and resurrection, Jesus would prove to be the ultimate and perfect sacrifice, paying the price for man’s sin once and for all.

I’m sure you’d be running as well, wouldn’t you?

Regarding the swaddling cloths, just a little aside.

The rags Mary and Joseph used were neither rags Mary and Joseph brought from home or rags they happened to discover in the stable.

It is unclear where Mary and Joseph obtained the cloths, but theologians assume that they came from the priest Zacharias, whose wife, Elizabeth, is Mary’s cousin, and that they were given to them by Elizabeth.

As a result, the shepherds discovered baby Jesus, who had been wrapped in priestly robes.

As the Lamb of God (John 1:29) and the great High Priest, it is only fair that He should be slaughtered like a lamb for the salvation of all people at some point in the future.

What a blessing it is that we no longer have to sacrifice animals because of the price that Jesus paid on our behalf.

It is recorded in the Bible that the shepherds “returned, glorifying and thanking God for everything that they had heard and seen” after witnessing Jesus with their own eyes (Luke 10:20).

Knowing that the Savior of the world has arrived should inspire all of us to express our joy in His presence. From my family to yours, I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas!

What Do We Know about the Shepherds at Jesus’ Birth?

The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John serve as the foundation of the New Testament. These four books chronicle the story of the coming of the Messiah, who is also known as Jesus the Christ. Only one of these four books takes us through the events leading up to Jesus’ birth. In Matthew, we are only given Jesus’ lineage; in John, we are told of Jesus’ Godhead (the Word became flesh); and in Mark, we are only given Jesus as an adult. Our entrance into the sacred moments surrounding Jesus’ birth is granted solely in Luke’s account, and this includes the shepherds.

Interpreting the Story of Jesus’ Birth

Nativities scenes, Christmas songs, and Christmas plays are all examples of ways in which we might learn about Jesus’ birth from the Bible. Artistic liberty is a term that refers to the use of creativity in a creative endeavor. This may often be beneficial in terms of broadening our perspective. However, there are situations when it can distort the facts and, as a result, what we believe we know. The wise men are often depicted alongside the shepherds in nativity scenes, but their arrival and departure times are not always the same.

Look at the narrative as it is told in the Bible to see if we can learn anything about the shepherds from it.

The Story of Jesus’ Birth

According to Luke 2:1-21, the narrative of Jesus’ birth is told. Furthermore, it came to happen during those days that an edict from Caesar Augustus was issued ordering the imposition of taxes across the entire world. (And this taxation was instituted for the first time during Cyrenius’ tenure as governor of Syria.) And they all went to their respective cities to pay their taxes. And Joseph likewise went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, into the city of David, which is named Bethlehem; (for he was of the family and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, who was nine months pregnant at the time of his taxation.

  • In the meantime, she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and put him in a manger because there was no space for them at the inn where they were staying.
  • And, lo, the angel of the Lord descended upon them, and the glory of the Lord shined around them, and they were terrified to their hearts’ content.
  • Also, the following will serve as a sign unto you: you will discover the child lying in a manger clothed in swaddling cloths.
  • And when they saw it, they spread the word of the saying that had been imparted to them about this kid all throughout the world.
  • Mary, on the other hand, treasured all of these things and pondered them in her heart.

As soon as the eight days for the circumcision of the kid were over, the child’s name was changed to Jesus, which was the name given to him by an angel before he was created in the womb.

What We Know about the Shepherds

Nobody knows who they were or how many they were since we don’t know their names. Although there are different reports about their social standing, it is apparent that God considered them to be significant. Here are a few facts that we may learn about:

  • The names of the individuals involved are unknown, as is the number of individuals involved. Even though there are various reports about their social standing, it is apparent that God considered them to be significant in his plans for the world. Some facts we should be aware of are as follows.

The shepherds are an integral element of the nativity story and should not be overlooked in our celebration. Photo courtesy of iStock/Getty Images Plus/rudall30/public domain Author, coach, and speaker Danielle Bernock is a multi-award-winning worldwide author, coach, and speaker who specializes in empowering individuals to accept their worth and heal their souls through the power of God’s love. She has published several books, includingEmerging With Wings, A Bird Named Payn, Love’s Manifesto, and Because You Matter, and she is the host of theVictorious Souls Podcast.

She lives with her husband in Michigan, close to her adult children and grandkids.

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The Christmas Story – The Shepherds and Angels

What was it about the Shepherds that made them the first individuals to learn of Jesus’ birth? And what a fantastic method in which they learned about it!

The Story in the Bible

Shepherds were also there in the same territory, camped out in the field and keeping watch over their flocks during the night. In the midst of it all, an angel of the Lord stood beside them, and they were scared as the glory of the Lord shined around them. “Do not be frightened, for behold, I bring you good news of great pleasure that will be shared by all the people,” the angel assured them. For there has been born to you today in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord, who has come to save you from your sins.

  • “Let us go to Bethlehem right away and see what has happened,” the shepherds agreed.
  • When they saw it, they immediately shared the statement that had been shared with them regarding this kid.
  • Mary, on the other hand, saved all of these sayings and pondered them in her heart.
  • Luke 2:8-20 (KJV)

The History behind the Shepherds and Angels in the Christmas Story

In those days, many people believed that sheep farmers were typically regarded as having little or no worth by their fellow human beings. The ‘fat tailed’ (also known as wide tailed) sheep that the shepherds would have been rearing were the sort that would have been raised. They frequently had lambs in the fall and winter, rather than the spring, which is the time of year when most sheep in western nations give birth. The shepherds were calmly going about their job when an angel appeared in front of them and told them to be still.

  1. When the angel spoke to them, he informed them about Jesus and his miraculous birth, and he explained how they could recognize him in such a populous town as theirs.
  2. Considering that this was just the second occasion in the whole Bible when a group of angels appeared rather than a single angel appeared to mankind, it was clear that they had a very important message to deliver to them.
  3. In order to learn more about angels, you may visit the sister website of whychristmas?com, whyangels?com.
  4. Just a few miles outside of Bethlehem, there existed a particular watchtower known as the Migdal Eder, which literally translated means ‘The Tower of the Flock.’ Sheep bred in the area are believed to have been used as sacrificial animals in the Jewish Temple in nearby Jerusalem.
  5. Many people believe the lambs at Migdal Eder were given a health check by being placed in a manger (or in a rock pit to keep them from running away), and they were even dressed up in swaddling clothes to demonstrate that they were special!
  6. One old Bible prophecy also stated that the Jewish messiah will come to the ‘tower of the sheep,’ which is located in Jerusalem (Micah 4:8).

As a result of their encounter with the newborn, the Bible states that “they spread the news about what had been told them about this child, and everyone who heard it was surprised at what the shepherds reported to them.” If they had been shepherds from Migdal Eder, they could have told the people they encountered on the way back to the hills, their friends and relatives in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the’middle class’ people to whom they sold sheep, and the people and priests at the Jewish Temple when they brought their best sheep and lambs to be sold there for sacrifices, that they were from the region.

That this exceptionally unique infant had been born in a ‘regular’ house (or in the Migdal Eder), rather than in a wealthy family home or a royal palace, would have been astonishment to both the shepherds and the people who heard about it from them.

The Shepherds Visit Jesus in Bethlehem (King James Version)

By the Reverend Eric Carswell They were comforted by the angel, who said, “Do not fear, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that will be to all people.” For there is born to you today in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, who is your hope and your salvation. (See also Luke 2:10-11) Those words of the angel were truly good tidings, bringing great joy to the hearts of all who heard them. However, while neither the shepherds nor anyone else on the planet realized the significance of what was happening that night, the angels did, and they had been eagerly awaiting this moment for hundreds of years.

The long-awaited Messiah, the Savior and Redeemer of mankind, had now arrived on the scene in the flesh.

There was a sudden influx of the heavenly host around the angel who had spoken to them, all of whom were praising God and saying things like “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (See Luke 2:14 for more information.) What was it that made the angels so happy?

  1. It’s easy to imagine the shiver of awe that must have swept over the shepherds’ shoulders as they heard the resounding sound of the angelic multitudes praising God.
  2. They were asked to reflect on what the birth of the Lord on the earth meant to them.
  3. They were right.
  4. Because of the way the human mind worked and continues to work, the angels were able to predict that the power of evil, once unleashed, would gradually grow in strength.
  5. They were terrified that this would happen.
  6. While evil was beginning to manifest itself, the Lord immediately foretold in prophecy that He would come to earth as a Savior in order to ensure that all people would always have a genuine choice between living in heaven or hell for the rest of their lives.
  7. The angels realized that He would come in the form of the Word made flesh, shining as a light throughout the world.

He would permit the formation of a mind within the workings of a natural brain – one that is identical to yours and mine.

Then He would do something that no finite mortal could.

He took words and ideas of truth that could exist within a human mind and showed their hidden glory.

It was an essential part of the process that the Writings of the New Church call “the glorification.” The Lord showed the infinite wisdom and the infinite love that had been hidden by the darkness of evil and the obscurity of limited human thought.

The Lord became the Word made flesh so that we might behold His glory, so that we might have the light that will give us life.

Yet the prophecies themselves had great power.

Faith in the promise of these prophecies accomplished something extremely powerful in itself.

(Arcana Coelestia 2034) This faith gave life and blessings to countless people.

Over and over again, the Lord renewed the promise of His coming.

A few held onto their hope and waited, looking daily for the Lord to come.

An old man in Jerusalem also waited for the Savior.

From a contented heart he spoke the remarkable words, “Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all people: A light to give light to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32) Simeon certainly understood something of the meaning of the Lord’s birth.

But the angels knew what the advent meant.

We are taught that if the process of the Lord’s glorification had not been shown to the angels through the internal sense of the Word and also in the rites of the Jewish Church, the Lord would have been obliged to come into the world immediately after the fall of the first church from the golden age of mankind.

  • From the Old Testament the angels knew the actual thoughts and perceptions of His whole life in the world.
  • It held in check their fears when they foresaw the growing power of evil.
  • They were concerned for the salvation of each individual soul.
  • The angels are keenly aware of the state of the church with the human race.
  • When the church within the hearts and minds of people in this world is weak and ignorant, the foundation is threatened.
  • Yes, the heavens are dependent on the people who make up the church on earth.
  • However, the concern of the angels was not for their own welfare.

They seek above all else to bring happiness to others.

They mourned over the sadness that filled the lives of so many.

They waited, praying, hoping.

So it was that when the Lord was born, the angels rejoiced.

And with joy they brought the news to a small group of shepherds who were in the fields that night watching over their flocks.

Jesus would grow from infancy to adult life.

His struggles would last all the way to the ultimate trial on the crucifixion.

He resurrected not only as Jesus, but also as the infinite God, Jesus Christ our Lord, who manifested himself in the form of flesh and blood.

However, after decades of waiting, hoping, and praying for this day to arrive, it had finally arrived.

The birth and life of the Lord did not imply that wicked loves and misguided concepts had been rendered impotent.

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Because of the evil that we may witness at both huge and little scales, our hearts might be troubled, and we can get disheartened or even angry at times.

With so many couples in such a bad state of affairs, he had been hurt in spirit as a result of his thoughts.

According to the angel, the different songs of joy they were hearing in connection with the Lord’s coming, such as: “Prepare the way of Jehovah,” which was a voice crying out in the desert, were all tied to his coming.

He will care for His sheep in the manner of a shepherd.

A Child has been born to us, and a Son has been given to us, and his name shall be.

In Isaiah 9:6, the Bible says In addition, there were quotes regarding the Lord’s second coming to the earth.

As we all know, this did not imply that the period of pain and difficulty in marriages would be over soon.

If we spend too much time looking at the pain and suffering, it might become all that we perceive, and the Lord’s involvement will be reduced to a minor abstraction.

The Lord and His angels would not want us to be in this situation.

We would not be living today if it had not been for the Lord’s intervention.

It is beneficial for us to come to terms with the fact that these inherent patterns of thinking and decision are detrimental in nature.

Their happiness was not based on the fact that they had personally profited from the advent.

The angels’ happiness was for the benefit of all humans.

When we consider what the Lord’s arrival means to all of those we care about, we might get a sense of their delight and happiness.

Perhaps we are concerned that they are making poor decisions and that we will be unable to prevent them from doing so without taking away their vital freedom.

Given that the Lord was born into the world, He is able to be extremely close to us, teaching and guiding us and our loved ones with His incomparably vast wisdom and boundless love.

We may be able to rejoice in the realization that things may not be as dismal as they appear at times.

We can be heartened by the knowledge that a limitless and loving God is close by, and that He is also actively involved in the lives of all human beings.

With the angels, the experience of another’s happiness is multiplied many times over.

They were joyful because the Lord had shown His compassion and kindness to all of us via His actions.

The angelic chorus’ words, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,” may fill our hearts with joy as we sing along with them. (See, for example, Luke 2:10)

Annunciation to the shepherds – Wikipedia

The annunciation to the shepherds is shown in this late 15th-century Flemish miniature. When angels announce the birth of Jesus to a group of shepherds, it is known as the annunciation to the shepherds. It is portrayed in the Bible in Luke 2 as an occurrence in the Nativity of Jesus. It is a popular theme in Christian art as well as in Christmas carols and hymns.

Biblical narrative

Rembrandt The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds (The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634). Shepherds were tending their flocks in the countryside near Bethlehem when they were startled by the appearance of an angel, as reported in lines 8–20 of the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke. The shepherds were scared. The angel adds that he has a message of good news for everyone, and that this message is that God has forgiven everyone “A Savior has been born to you today in the town of David; he is the Messiah, the Lord, and he has come to save you.

This will serve as a sign for you.” “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests,” sings a slew of angels as they praise God with the lyrics, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” The shepherds decide to follow the angel’s instructions and journey to Bethlehem, where they discover Mary and Joseph, as well as the child Jesus, sleeping in a manger, exactly as they had been informed.

Following then, the shepherds’ admiration is shown.

Translational issues

The words of the angels are translated differently in the King James Version of the Bible than in current editions, with the lines “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward mankind” being used instead of “Glory to God in the highest.” It is this earlier translation that is reflected in most Christmas carols, with “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” for example, utilizing the phrases “Peace on the world, good will to mankind,” from Heaven’s all gracious King, as an example.

The discrepancy can be traced to a disagreement about the Greek text of the New Testament concerning a single letter.

The last word of the text is in thegenitivecase, which means “on earth peace to men of good will,” and it is in thegenitivecase because it is in thegenitivecase because it is in thegenitivecase because it is in thegenitivecase because it is in thegenitivecase because it is in thegenitivecase because it is in thegenitive (apparently reflecting a Semitic idiom that reads strangely in Greek).

Although this is the reading found in the original version of the ancientCodex Sinaiticus(denoted * by scholars), it has been altered by the erasure of the last lettertoepi gs eirna en anthrpois eudokia( ), which literally translates as “on earth (first subject: peace) to men (second subject: good will),” with two subjects in thenominative case.

The editedCodex Sinaiticus is consistent with the reading of some other ancient Greek manuscripts (and many medieval manuscripts), but most modern scholars and Bible translators accept the reading of most ancient manuscripts, which is “on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (NIV) or “on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (NIV) (ESV).

Theological interpretation

It is generally agreed that the fact that this message was delivered to shepherds, who were believed to be on the bottom rungs of the social ladder in first-century Palestine, is noteworthy. While they are in direct opposition to the more powerful people portrayed in theNativity, such as the Emperor Augustus, they appear to represent Mary’s words in theMagnificat: “He has brought rulers from their thrones, but he has exalted the lowly.” Taking the shepherds, who are assumed to be Jewish, and combining them with the GentileThree Magi, who were later thought to be one from each of the three continents then known, represent the first official declaration of the Christian message to all peoples of the world, according to later tradition.

In the past, the phrase “peace to men on whom his favor rests” has been read both restrictively, referring to a certain set of individuals that God has selected, and inclusively, referring to God exhibiting favor to the whole world.

Depiction in art

Initially shown exclusively as a component of a larger Nativity scene, the annunciation to the shepherds became an independent topic for art in the 9th century, but has remained a relatively unusual subject for art, with the exception of long cycles with several scenes, until the present day. As a standardByzantinedepiction, which is still used inEastern Orthodoxicons today, the scene is shown in the backdrop of aNativity, normally on the right, with the Three Magiapproaching on the left. This is also quite frequent in the Western world, albeit the Magi are very rarely included in the story.

  1. A similar scene is depicted in theNativity at NightofGeertgen tot Sint Jans, when the shepherds are seen the annunciation from a hillside via a gap in the stable wall.
  2. These scenes are properly called as the Adoration of the Shepherds.
  3. This is also consistent with the biblical interpretation of this episode, in which these two groups represented the peoples of the world between them.
  4. It is fairly uncommon for sceneries in the backdrop of a Nativity scene to portray the shepherds on a steep hill, which helps to visually explain their placement above the main Nativity scene.
  5. Despite the fact that the annunciation to the shepherds became less prevalent as a standalone topic in the late Middle Ages, portrayals of it lasted until the twentieth century.

Aside with theAgony in the Garden and the Arrest of Christ, this scene is considered to be one of the most important for the evolution of the representation of night scenes, particularly in early Netherlandish painting and manuscript illustration in the 15th century (see illustrations here and theGeertgen tot Sint Janslinked above).

The shepherds are sometimes represented with musical instruments in Renaissance art, which draws inspiration from ancient myths of Orpheus. While a joyful Virgin Mary stands to one side, a lovely but unusual miniature in theLa Flora HoursinNaplesshows the shepherds playing with theInfant Jesus.


The Annunciation is a subject that appears frequently in Christmas cantatas. Part II of Bach’sChristmas Oratorio, and Part I of Handel’s Messiah both include passages from Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend (And there were Hirten in the Same Place), which is one of Bach’s most famous works.

Christmas carols

The annunciation to the shepherds is mentioned in a number of Christmas songs, with the Gloria in Excelsis Deo being the most ancient. “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” a poem by Phillips Brooks written in 1867, has the lines “O morning stars together, announce the holy birth, / And praises sing to God the King, and peace to mankind on earth! ” “Shepherds quiver at the sight; / Glories pour from heaven afar, / Heavenly hosts cry Alleluia!” proclaims the original German song ” Silent Night.” The event plays a significantly larger part in Charles Wesley’s ” Hark!

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The Herald Angels Sing ” The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King;Peace on earth, and mild mercy;God and sinners reconciled!” “Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth, and mild mercy; God and sinners reconciled!” All ye nations rise in joy; join in the victory of the sky; and with the celestial host declare, “Christ has been born in Bethlehem!” The annunciation to the shepherds is the subject of Nahum Tate’s well-known carol ” While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks ” (1700), and the episode is also mentioned in ” The First Nowell “, ” Angels from the Realms of Glory “, and the originally French carol ” Angels We Have Heard on High “, among many other works of literature.

Similarly, the hymn ” It Came Upon the Midnight Clear “, written byHenry Wadsworth Longfellow during the American Civil War, focuses on the words “Peace on earth, good will to mankind” in a pacifist context, as does the carol ” I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day “.

In popular culture

Throughout history, the phrase “peace on earth, good will toward mankind” has been employed in a number of circumstances. To give an example, Samuel Morse’s parting telegram in 1871 stated: “All throughout the world, greetings and gratitude are sent to the telegraph fraternity. S. F. B. Morse said, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will toward men.”” After reciting the scenario verbatim at the conclusion of A Charlie Brown Christmas, Linus van Peltre explains to Charlie Brown how this is “the essence of Christmas,Charlie Brown.” It is used as a juxtaposition in the novelty song “I Yust Go Nuts for Christmas,” in which Gabriel Heatterpreaches the annunciation of peace and good will, and “(exactly) at that time, someone smacks Uncle Ben,” to contrast the purpose of the holiday with the typically chaotic character of the festivities.

Image gallery

  1. AbLuke 2:11–12, NIV (BibleGateway)
  2. AbLuke 2:14, NIV (BibleGateway)
  3. AbLuke 2:14, KJV (BibleGateway)
  4. AbAland, Kurt
  5. Barbara Aland (BibleGateway)
  6. Barbara Aland (BibleGateway) (1995). Textual criticism of the New Testament: an introduction to the critical editions of the Bible, as well as the philosophy and practice of modern textual criticism A commentary on the Greek text of the Gospel of Luke by I. Howard Marshall (Eerdmans, 1978)
  7. AbcdGreen, Joel B.,The Gospel of Luke (Eerdmans), 1997
  8. AbcdAland, Kurt
  9. Black, Matthew
  10. Martini, Carlo M
  11. Metzger, Bruce M
  12. Wikgren, Allen (Eerdmans, 1997)
  13. AbcdGreen, Joel B.,The Gospel of Luke (Eerdman (1983). This is the third edition of the Greek New Testament. United Bible Societies, Stuttgart, pp. xv, xxvii, and 207. Stuttgart: United Bible Societies. The ISBN for this book is 3-438-05113-3
  14. Aland & Aland, p. 233
  15. The erasure may be seen in the onlineCodex Sinaiticusat the top left of the relevant page, at the end of the sixth line of the first column, which is the last line of the first column. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011, via theWayback Machine. In addition, see here for a manuscript comparison tool
  16. Luke 2:14, ESV (BibleGateway)
  17. Douay-Rheims Bible online (Luke 2), from the Latin ” in terra pax in hominibus bonae voluntatis.”
  18. New American Bible online (Luke 2)
  19. See alsohere for a comparison of many other translations
  20. Green, p. 130
  21. Paoletti,

Why Shepherds Were Invited to Witness Christ’s Birth—and Not Somebody Else

The classic nativity scene is represented by Mary, Joseph, the newborn Jesus, the three wise men, and the shepherds in the majority of models. It is possible that some people are aware that the three wise men were disciples of Christ who brought Jesus with presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to signify Jesus’ kingdom, divinity, as well as His suffering and death. Was it the shepherds, however, who played such an important role during the Nativity? Why were shepherds, of all people, invited to witness Christ’s birth and nativity?

  1. The following extract from Good Tidings of Great Joy: An Advent Celebration of the Savior’s Birth, written by Eric D.
  2. Although Matthew reports that the news of Jesus’ birth was delivered later to the wise men, who were no doubt representatives of the rich and educated, through the use of astrological phenomena, Luke reports that the news was delivered directly to the shepherds shortly after Jesus’ birth.
  3. Shepherds were generally seen as dirty and beyond the law, and in certain cases, as dishonest, because they frequently grazed their flocks on other people’s property around the time of the Crusades.
  4. Others, however, have pointed out that many of the animals around Bethlehem, which is just six miles from Jerusalem, were meant for temple sacrifices, in which case the symbolism is altogether different.
  5. In conjunction with these hallowed flocks, a specific location known as Migdal Eder, or “the Tower of the Flock,” has been designated.
  6. The angel who appeared to the shepherds is referred to as “the angel of the Lord” by Luke, who identifies him as such (Luke 2:9).
  7. In all circumstances, there is an echo of a common heavenly messenger who represents the Lord in such a forceful and direct manner that he, or his words, are sometimes confused with the presence of God himself.
  8. As a result, the shepherds are naturally alarmed, which proves to be the first step in the pattern of commissioning or annunciation that we have previously witnessed with Zacharias and Mary, as well as with the angel Gabriel (see Chapter 2: Promised Savior).

The statement that follows is one of the most well-known passages in the Christmas narrative, and it perfectly captures the excitement and gladness that this sacred event brings to the world: I offer you glad tidings of great pleasure that will be shared by all people, so do not be alarmed” (Luke 2:10).

  • However, the good news that would bring pleasure to all people is ultimately found in what Jesus would eventually do—suffer, die, and rise again—making the good news that of redemption.
  • a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,” the angel of the Lord adds (Luke 2:11).
  • In this similar framework, Luke puts the Nativity story by introducing it with a reference to Augustus at the outset of the narrative.
  • When Luke compares this Christ to “the Lord,” he confirms that the infant is the divine Jehovah, because both the Greekkyrios and Hebrewadonai (both meaning “lord”) were alternatives for the divine name YHWH.
  • The act of swaddling was not likely to be the signal that the shepherds were looking for, because swaddling was a show of parental concern and care for a newborn child.
  • However, before the shepherds can make their way to Bethlehem in search of a baby swaddled in a manger, the angel who had been speaking to them is joined by a heavenly chorus praising God, just as they had done when they “shouted for delight” at the beginning of creation (Job 38:7).
  • It is known as theGloria in Excelsisfrom its traditional Latin title, and it has been included into the liturgy of various churches as well as the melody of innumerable songs throughout history.
  • The absence of a verb in each word of the song shows that it originated in Semitic and was translated into Greek by Luke or his source.

In English, the phrase “in the highest” can be interpreted as an expression of degree, implying that the angels were giving God the highest praise possible; however, in Greek, the prepositional phraseen hypsistoisis is more likely to be interpreted as a locational phrase, indicating where the glory should be found in the first place.

In Luke’s account of Christ’s Triumphal Entry, those who welcome Jesus as he approaches Jerusalem prior to his Passion cry out, “Blessed be the King who cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest” (Blessed be the King who cometh in the name of the Lord: peace on earth, and glory in the highest) (Luke 19:38; emphasis added).

Despite this, both parties attribute all praise to God in the highest heavens, just as the premortal Christ himself dedicated all glory resulting from his mission to God his Father in heaven (Moses 4:2).

Final purpose of this adorable infant would be to restore peace between God and his children, reconciling us through the death of God’s Only Begotten Son and bringing us real pleasure (see Romans 5:8–11 for more information).

Lead image from Getty Images

In Good Tidings of Great Joy, author Eric D. Huntsman offers yet another incisive study into the origins, significance, and celebration of an element of the Savior’s life, and he does so in a straightforward and straightforward manner. The most recent scholarship on the birth of Jesus Christ is accompanied by stunning graphics, exquisite artwork, and pictures that capture the moment in time. Articles on the sidebars provide insight into many facets of our Christmas celebration, from the music that we like to the symbols that have collected through the years to become recognizable and welcoming reminders of the season.

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