And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:8-14
Today’s verses are some that I feel speak to the accuracy and truthfulness of the Gospels. If someone were to make up the story of Jesus as some critics claim then why would they include things that are unflattering to them? A case in point is today’s verses. Here we have the birth of the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah and who does God tell first, shepherds. Not a king, not a Caesar not even the disciples. No God chose to reveal the birth of His Son to a bunch of shepherds tending sheep outside of Bethlehem. Really, shepherds?
Shepherds were the low men on the totem pole. They were dirty and smelly. They spent almost all their lives with the sheep. They were considered unfit for polite society. I am going to make up a story about God taking on human form and living among us and I pick shepherds as the only people God tells. If you are going to make up a story couldn’t you choose a better story? I know I could.
Why Bethlehem? I would have at least used Jerusalem, but why not Rome the center of the Empire? Ok, maybe Bethlehem is ok because Micah did say that “, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”, Micah 5:2. But couldn’t we have Herod there in Jerusalem at the time or better still why not have Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus, the Roman ruler in town for a visit. Or how about the Jewish priest, especially the High priest that year making a day trip to Bethlehem. I mean anybody but a bunch of smelly, dirty shepherds. If you are going to make up a story at least make it sing.
But no, God chose where He would come into the world and who He would tell not to make a big splash but to let us know that He loves the humble. That He is the God of the lowly and the high. He is God of all. So He chooses the city of David because David was a man after God’s own heart and it would be David’s throne that Jesus would inherit. I think He chose shepherds because not only was David a shepherd but because Jesus would be our shepherd. I believe God was making a point that He values those that society would cast off. It is not how I would have written the story and maybe not how you would have written it but it is how God chose to write the story. I guess that is why it has been called the greatest story ever told.
Have a blessed day,