Make no mistake, shepherds were dirty people. Not morally, although maybe they were, but they were often covered in dirt, sweat and grime. For the sake of protecting the flock, they would stay with the sheep, sleeping in the fields. They smelled like livestock and were not the upper class of society. If you were planning an event for the coming of the King of the Universe, more than likely, you would overlook the shepherds. Yet, it was to the lowly shepherds that the angels announced the birth of the Savior.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
– Luke 2:8-10, NIV
Through the Gospel of Luke, and indeed throughout the whole of the Gospels, the coming of the King was not met with the fanfare that is deserved. You would expect the coming of the Savior of mankind to be meet with Kings and rulers lining up in adoration. Furthermore, you would expect the announcement to come first to those in positions of influence; those who held high titles and offices and those who were the “elite” of society. The promise of Jesus’ gospel stood in contrast to the elitism and entitlement. Jesus came to save sinners and the lowly. We all must rest in the humility of our lowly position of needing a savior no matter what our position in life may be.
The Good News Coming to Sinners
There is no coincidence in the fact that angels appeared to shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus Christ. While shepherds may have been the morally low, these are precisely the people that would receive the good news of the gospel. Culturally, the shepherds were not known for being of the highest moral quality. Where they would have been unfit to approach the throne room of God, angels appeared to them directly. The good news came for those who would needed it the most; sinners.
Just as the gospel came to sinners to reveal the good news of the coming Savior, our role in this circumstance is that we are sinners. We are recipients of the Gospel. For as much as I would love to claim that I could earn my salvation, the brutal truth is that the coming of Christ came for me because I could not save myself. But I do not need to feel guilt about this. The act of Christ coming as a man was not done begrudgingly but done with the supreme force of love that God shows for His people.
Humility of Our Position
Yet, the coming of Christ was by no means a badge of exclusivity. It is no hidden mystery that, we, as people, like to feel important. We try and stand on our own achievements while saying that grace is for others. We seek titles and accolades and get offended when our we are not properly recognized. People are expected to do things for us and serve us rather than us represent Christ to the world. The King who took on lowly form must not be inverted in our lives where we, as the lowly, masquerade as Kings and Queens.
The Gospel message stands in stark contrast to this type of personal self-aggrandizement. The pinnacle of human existence took the form of an infant, born in a manager, announced first to the low-life of society who were is no way ceremonially clean to approach a King.
The Gospel came to all people, starting with the announcement coming to the lowly. Whatever position or title we may hold, we can hold to our roots that we are the shepherd. The grace of God paves a path for us to approach the throne of God. No title, no accomplishments, or position afforded us the relationship we hold with Christ. Whenever we represent Christ to the world, the burden of clinging to our titles and accomplishments can fade away and we can depict the true Gospel, a God who became man, and reigned as King for the people He came to save.
Read Luke 2:8-21
- What things do you see that seem to stand out of place with the idea of an announcement of a King? How does the response of heaven and the response of earth differ? What does this show us about the true importance of this event?
- What is the significance of the angels announcing the birth to the shepherd people? What does this tell us about the nature of God?
- For many people, it can be difficult to admit our sinful nature. Why can it be difficult to deal with our personal sins?
- Why do we like to receive accolades and recognition for our achievements?
- How can pride inhibit our personal growth and understanding of the Gospel’s impact on our lives?
- Why should we remain humble in our position and understanding of the Jesus’ intervention in the world?