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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In order to learn more about angels, you may visit the sister website of whychristmas?com, whyangels?com.
- Just a few miles outside of Bethlehem, there was a special 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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:
- They were the first to be informed
- They were preoccupied with their usual activities
- They saw and heard the angel of the Lord
- They were terrified at first
- They saw and heard the host of angels praising God
- They were the first to be informed
- They were persuaded by the angel of the Lord and went to meet Jesus as soon as possible
- They were the earliest evangelists, and they were the first to see Jesus, long before the three wise men. He was less than a week old when he was placed in the manger.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
- 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.
- These scenes are properly called as the Adoration of the Shepherds.
- This is also consistent with the biblical interpretation of this episode, in which these two groups represented the peoples of the world between them.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
- AbLuke 2:11–12, NIV (BibleGateway)
- AbLuke 2:14, NIV (BibleGateway)
- AbLuke 2:14, KJV (BibleGateway)
- AbAland, Kurt
- Barbara Aland (BibleGateway)
- 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)
- AbcdGreen, Joel B.,The Gospel of Luke (Eerdmans), 1997
- AbcdAland, Kurt
- Black, Matthew
- Martini, Carlo M
- Metzger, Bruce M
- Wikgren, Allen (Eerdmans, 1997)
- 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
- Aland & Aland, p. 233
- 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
- Luke 2:14, ESV (BibleGateway)
- Douay-Rheims Bible online (Luke 2), from the Latin ” in terra pax in hominibus bonae voluntatis.”
- New American Bible online (Luke 2)
- See alsohere for a comparison of many other translations
- Green, p. 130
Shepherds or Wise Men?: The Birth of Jesus
Luke 1:26-56; 2:7; 3:26-56 (The Annunciation to Mary and the Birth of Jesus) Luke 2:8-20 (The Visitation of the Shepherd) Matthew 1:18-25 (New International Version) (The Annunciation to Joseph and the Birth of Jesus) Matthew 2:12 – 12:12 (The Magi Visit)
Luke 1:26-56, 2:1-7 (The Annunciation to Mary and the Birth of Jesus) Luke 2:8-20 (The Shepherd’s Visit)
We will note some significant differences between Luke’s narrative of Jesus’ birth and Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth in the sections we will read this week. The focus of Luke’s account is on Mary and the shepherds, but the focus of Matthew’s story is on Joseph and the Magi. One of the most important aspects of Luke’s Gospel is the prominent position that women play throughout the narrative, beginning with the part performed by Mary, who serves as a model for all women. Mary is referred to as the “favored one” (or “full of grace” in the ancient language) in the Bible.
- Mary is God’s favored one (1:28), and she has gained favor (1:30) with the Father in Jesus Christ.
- It extends to the most improbable of individuals as well—low-life shepherds out in the fields, whom people in Jesus’ day would have viewed as something akin to the way we see garbage collectors or employees in sewage treatment plants: perennially dirty, as opposed to people today.
- It is not enough, according to Luke’s Gospel, that God’s favor has been extended to Mary, or even that God’s favor has been extended to the “unwashed” keepers of sheep.
- As a result, at the conclusion of his first lecture, Jesus declares that the year of the Lord’s favor has begun to be fulfilled in the ears of all those who hear him (4:19)
Matthew 1:18-25 (The Annunciation to Joseph and the Birth of Jesus)Matthew 2:1-12 (The Magi Visit)
It is commonplace to speak about Luke’s account of the visit of the Angel Gabriel to Mary as the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. But it is less commonplace, though no less true, to say that there is an angelic annunciation to the Virgin Joseph in Matthew’s Gospel. Just as Luke places his early emphasis on Mary’s role in Jesus’ coming into the world, so Matthew places his emphasis on the role that Joseph plays. In a dream, an angel visits Joseph to reassure him that it is good and right for him to take Mary as his wife, though she is pregnant before they have come together in marriage.
There are no shepherds in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth.
(Shepherds, because of their mucking about with sheep and sheep dung were considered ritually unclean, incapable of visiting the Temple in Jerusalem to make the appointed sacrifices.) But there is an equally startling surprise in those who are chosen to be the first visitors to Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel: “unwashed” Gentile Magi, who don’t even worship the God of Israel!
This Jesus will show God’s favor, God’s love, God’s peace, and bring God’s healing to anyone willing to come to him: Jew or Gentile, ritually unclean or the ones who have not even believed in Israel’s God. – Bill Rich
Questions for Reflection
1. Do you find yourself pulled more to Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ birth than you do to Matthew’s accounts? You may be able to pinpoint what it is that pulls you to one Gospel over the other, but can you explain why? God’s favor enters into the world as a result of Mary’s cooperation with the heavenly message she receives from God, despite her reservations and concerns. What fears or apprehensions do you need to get over in order to receive God’s blessing? 3. Many individuals find the emphasis placed on the virgin birth to be difficult to comprehend and accept.
- Would it be more helpful to conceive of virginity as more about being uncluttered (by prior or current distracting obligations) and open to receive what God has to offer instead?
- Jesus’ initial guests are “unwashed” Jews and unbelieving Gentiles, who are among his most ardent supporters.
- For you, how does it alter your perspective to conceive God inviting anything you consider to be unwashed in you to have a personal experience with Jesus?
- What happens when you agree that God wants to announce you—including your unwashed and disbelieving parts—divinely favored?
‘We had a cold coming of it, and it was the worst time of the year for a voyage, and it was a long journey: the roads were deep and the weather was severe, and it was the dead of winter.’ Sorefooted and obstinate, the camels galled and sank on their backs in the melting snow. There were times when we wished we hadn’t. Terraces, and silken girls delivering sherbet were all part of the summer mansions on the hills. The camel men then began cursing and moaning and fleeing, claiming they were after their whiskey and women.
At the conclusion of the day, we chose to go through the night.
In the morning, we descended into a temperate valley, wet and green below the snow line, smelling of flora; with a rushing stream and a water-mill piercing the darkness, and three trees against the black sky, and an old white horse galloping away in the meadow; Once there were vine-leaves over the threshold, six hands dicing for bits of coin at an open door, and feet kick the empty wine-skins as we approached.
- But there was no information, and so we continued, arriving at the hotel in the dark, which was not a minute too soon.
- All of this happened a long time ago, as I recall, and I would do it again, but with a different approach.
- Is it true that we were guided all the way there forBirth or Death?
- We had evidence, and there was no doubt.
Our destinies were restored to us in these Kingdoms, but we were no longer at comfortable in the old dispensation, with a foreign people grasping their gods in their hands. I should feel relieved that another death has occurred.
‘We had a cold coming of it, and it was the worst time of the year for a voyage, and it was a long journey: the roads were deep and the weather was biting, and it was the dead of winter.” Sorefooted and obstinate, the camels galled and sank to their knees in the melting snow. It happened at some point that we were sorry. Terraces, and silken girls carrying sherbet were all part of the summer castles on hills experience. Later, with cursing and grumbling, the camel men fled, claiming they were after whiskey and women.
- Finally, we decided that traveling all night was preferable to us.
- With voices ringing in our ears, telling us that all we were doing was a waste of time, we walked away.
- But there was no information, and so we continued, arriving at the hotel in the dark, which was not a minute too soon.
- This all happened a long time ago, I recall, and I would do it again, except I would put my hands on my hips instead.
- This is the question: were we guided all the way there for the purpose ofBirth or Death?
- I had witnessed both birth and death, but had assumed they were distinct; this Birth, like Death, was a difficult and painful torment for us, just as Death, our death, had been for us previously.
- Having another death would be welcome.
TheP31 Woman magazine is a publication dedicated to women aged 31 and above. Visit Glynnis’ blog and resources page for suggestions on how to create a sense of wonder in your own heart. Nancy Stafford’s book The Wonder of His Love: A Journey into the Heart of God is a journey into the heart of God. Christmas shopping with us is a must! Proverbs 31 Ministries provides many areas of hope-giving service at no cost, and when you purchase resources from us, you are helping to fund those areas. For this reason, each and every transaction makes us feel tremendously appreciated.
Procedures for submitting an application: This Christmas, make a point of doing something that will leave you in a state of astonishment.
Reflections: What are some of the reasons that my awe and wonder at the genuine meaning of Christmas has waned? What aspects of my personality can I improve so that people are more likely to witness or hear the fantastic things that God is doing through me?
The prophet Isaiah writes in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.” And he will be known as “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” and “Prince of Peace,” among other titles. (NIV) “As Jesus was rising up out of the water, he saw heaven broken open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove,” according to Mark 1:10-11. It was then that a voice from heaven spoke to me: ‘You are my Son, whom I adore; I am happy with you.” Glynnis Whitwer created the NIV in 2010.
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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.
- The tale is laid out for us in Luke 2:8–20.
- For today, in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you, and his name is Christ the Lord.
- They arrived in a hurried manner and saw Mary and Joseph, as well as the infant, who was resting in the feeding trough.
- All who heard it were taken aback by the things that the shepherds had said to them in their language.
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.
That is, to a certain extent, correct.
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!
The Birth of Jesus
Matthew chapters 1 and 2, and Luke chapters 1 and 2.
An Angel Visits Mary
|The angel Gabriel appeared to Maryand said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. Youwill conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. Hewill be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” (TNIV)|
A young Jewish woman named Mary was approached by an angel named Gabriel one day some 2,000 years ago. The angel was named Gabriel. The angel Gabriel informed Mary that she would be the mother of a boy named Jesus, who would be the Son of God! Despite the fact that she was befuddled and concerned by the unexpected news, Mary had confidence in God and answered, “I am the Lord’s servant; let it be as you say.”
Journey to Bethlehem
Mary and her future husband, Joseph, resided in a town named Nazareth around the time of Jesus’ birth. In order to register for a census ordered by the Romanemperor, Caesar Augustus, they were required to go to Bethlehem, which they did. Both Nazareth and Bethlehem are located inside the borders of what is now known as Israel. The distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem is approximately 65 miles (105 kilometers), and the journey probably took them many days. In Bethlehem, when Joseph and Mary arrived, there was no place for them to stay because the inn had already been fully booked.
It’s likely that there was fresh hay on the floor, which they utilized as beds.
Because there was no cot available, they placed the newborn Jesus in a manger, which was a food dish for animals.
Shepherds Visit Jesus
|Jesus was born in a stable and laidto sleep in a manger. The shepherds came to see firsthand the things theangel had told them.|
Some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem on that particular night, keeping an eye on their flocks of sheep. They were visited by an angel who brought them the joyful news that a Savior, the Messiah, had been born to them. The shepherds were instructed by an angel that they would be able to discover Jesus laying in a manger. All of a sudden, a large number of angels arrived and began to sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among mankind!” After a hasty journey into Bethlehem, the shepherds discovered Jesus in the manger, just as the angel had said.
Wise Men Visit Jesus
|Wise men from the East came to worshipJesus, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.|
A few years later, wise men from eastern countries, known as ormagi, witnessed a star in the sky that heralded the birth of a new emperor. They traveled to Judea, the region around the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, to worship Jesus, the new king, and to learn more about him. The king of Judea was a guy by the name of Herod. He summoned the wise men to a conference and instructed them to track out the new king so that he may pay his respects to him as well. The wise men proceeded on their journey to Bethlehem, where they followed the star until it was precisely above the home where Jesus was being raised.
They gave presents to Jesus in the form of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which were considered to be among the greatest things in the ancient world.
In order to produce a delicious scent, Frankincense was burned, and Myrrh was used to manufacture luxury perfume. Following their encounter with Jesus, the wise men had a dream in which they were cautioned not to return to King Herod, prompting them to choose an alternate path home.
Journey to Egypt
When King Herod informed the three wise men that he desired to worship Jesus, he was lying. He was concerned that this new “king” would usurp his position as monarch of Judea. He was unaware that Jesus would grow up to be the king of God’s spiritual kingdom, rather than the monarch of Judea, as he had assumed. What Herod actually desired was to track down and kill Jesus! When Herod discovered that the three wise men had not returned to inform him where to find Jesus, he became enraged. He dispatched his men to Bethlehem with the orders to murder any infants under the age of two, believing that Jesus would almost likely be among those slaughtered.
Joseph relocated Mary and Jesus to Egypt, where they would be safe from Herod’s persecution.
Is it true that Jesus was born on Christmas Day? We commemorate the birth of Jesus on Christmas, yet no one is certain of the precise day of Jesus’ birth, or even the year in which Jesus was born. In 336 A.D., the Western Church, centered in Rome, chose December 25 as the day to commemorate “Christ’s Mass,” which means “Christ’s sacrifice.” The Eastern Church picked the sixth of January. The holiday was dubbed Epiphany, which literally translates as “appearance.” The time between December 25 and January 6 became known as the Twelve Days of Christmas as a result of this tradition.
The legends of Jesus’ birth serve as a connection between the past and the present. Considering the circumstances of Jesus’ birth, it seems clear that He fulfilled the Old Testament predictions about a coming Messiah (Isaiah7:14, Matthew 1:23). He was born in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:5-6). He had been summoned out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1, Matthew 2:15). When Jesus was born, it was in a stable, which was the most basic of settings. In a similar vein, Jesus demonstrated how God’s favor is reserved for the impoverished and disadvantaged.
Gentiles would eventually make up the majority of the Christian world in the future.
Luke 2:8-20 Jesus Birth Announcement Proclaimed To The Shepherds By Angels — Tell the Lord Thank You
Likewise, there were shepherds who lived in the fields and kept watch over their flocks at night in the same region as Jesus. Luke 2:8-20 Ninety-nine seconds later, an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shined around them, and they became extremely terrified. 10 But the angel instructed them, saying, “Listen! Do not be alarmed. Because I am bringing you wonderful news that will bring enormous delight to all of humanity. 11 For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, who is the fulfillment of all Scripture.
- 16 As a result, they arrived in a hurry and saw Mary and Joseph, as well as the Baby, who was lying in a manger.
- 18 And everyone who heard it was astonished by what the shepherds had to say.
- Twenty-one of the shepherds returned, thanking and praising God for what they had heard and seen, just as had been related to them.
- Do you believe this?
God bless you, and please express your gratitude to the Lord for His Son, Jesus, who paid the ultimate payment for our sins so that we may spend eternally with Him in His presence. God’s blessings on you all. Debra
The shepherds hear the news of Jesus’ birth
One day, an angel came to the home of a young woman named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph at the time. The angel told Mary that the Holy Spirit would descend upon her and that she would conceive and give birth to a son as a result of this descent. She was instructed to give the infant the name Jesus. “As a result, the child who will be born will be referred to as holy, the Son of God,” the angel explained. After a few months, Caesar Augustus, the emperor of the Roman Empire, decreed that everyone who lived in the empire must be tallied in a census, which took place some months later.
- Due to the fact that the Romans controlled the regions in which the Jewish people lived, they were required to participate in the census as well.
- Because Joseph was descended from King David’s house and family, he and Mary were required to go to Judea, to the city of Bethlehem — also known as the city of David — in order to be enrolled in the census.
- Despite this, Rachel and Joseph embarked on the lengthy journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
- She became a mother and gave birth to a boy, just as the angel had predicted.
- Some shepherds were living and working in the fields surrounding Bethlehem, which was a short distance away.
- They were startled when an angel appeared in front of them.
- It was the angel who said, “Do not be frightened; for behold, I deliver to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Because a Savior has been born for you today in the city of David, and he is known as Christ and Lord.
- MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND HERE: Luke 2Q A1.
Bible Accent: Shepherds
Shepherding was a prevalent activity throughout the time of the biblical writers. Shepherds were responsible for the care of flocks of sheep and goats, either for their own families or as servants of others. Sheep and goats were essential sources of meat and milk, and their wool or skins were used to make clothes and other articles of apparel. Shepherds worked and lived in the fields during the warm season, tending to their flocks and caring for them. These individuals guided the animals to various grazing spots and ensured that they had plenty to eat and drink.
Shepherds would count the animals at night to ensure that none were missing and examined them to ensure that they were in good health the following day.
Shepherds used slings and stones, as well as their rods, which were comparable to clubs, to drive away wild animals that tried to attack their flocks of sheep and goats.
During the winter, the flocks were brought within since it was getting too cold outside. After shedding their winter coats, the sheep were sheared, and the process of herding the flocks to various grazing regions for the spring and summer recommenced.
Saint for Today: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (d. 1821) was born in 1774 in New York City, New York, to a family of Episcopal priests. She married a wealthy businessman and had five children as a result of their union. Her spouse grew unwell and moved to Italy in order to receive medical treatment, but he died while there. Elizabeth got interested in Catholicism while traveling in Italy, and she was admitted into the church in 1805 as a result of her experiences. In 1809, she created the Daughters of Charity of St.
The order provided assistance to the destitute, established orphanages and hospitals, and collaborated with religious schools.
She was canonized in 1975, making her the first native-born saint from North America.
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