READ : Psalm 23
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. (Luke 2:8 NIV)
Of course there were. What else would we expect of the God who meets us where we least expect him. Shepherds were the lowest of the low in ancient Jewish society, so unclean that they weren’t even allowed in the temple (or so I read somewhere once). We meet them here living out in the fields. No room for them. So, of course, the One born in a barn was first announced to them.
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:9 NIV). Throughout the Old Testament, the glory of the Lord was associated with the temple, especially the Holy of Holies. Now, these Judean hills have become the temple, because the glory of the Lord surrounded them.
No wonder they were terrified. When Moses asked to see the glory, God said, “You cannot, or you will die” (cf. Exod. 33:20). Every good Jew knew that, so these poor shepherds were terrified at the glory.
Along with vast portions of the homeless human race, they hadn’t learned yet that the Lord of Glory is our shepherd. The little baby whom they will soon hear about is the loving face of God, the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his lost sheep. Believe that, and even the lowest of the low “shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (v. 6 NIV).
Good Shepherd, thank you for laying down your life for me. Amen.