The pilot episode for The Chosen, a popular television series depicting the life of Christ, tells the story of Simon, a poor, lame shepherd. Simon longs for the coming of the Messiah. One day, he encounters Mary and Joseph and kindly gives her a drink of water. That very night, angels visit Simon and his fellow shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. They joyfully go to find the child and Simon is healed!
The Christmas story is for everyone, even and especially for those counted lowest in society. And that was certainly true of the shepherds in Jesus’ day. One might think that when the Messiah arrived, the “important people” would be the first to know this history-making news. But God does not show favoritism, and in His world the last shall be first (Luke 13:30; Acts 10:34–35). We shouldn’t be surprised, then, that shepherds were chosen as the first to receive Jesus’ birth announcement (vv. 8–14). God sent an entire choir of angels to sing them the wonderful news!
In light of this month’s study, it seems fitting that shepherds were the first to be told of the coming of the Good Shepherd. These particular shepherds provide a model response in at least three ways: First, they responded in faith to what they’d heard and went to find the child (vv. 15–16). Second, they rejoiced at what they’d heard and seen and spread the good news to others (vv. 17–18). Finally, they gave praise and glory to the Lord for all of it (v. 20).
Many Bible scholars believe these shepherds were watching over special flocks—animals used for the temple sacrifices. In that case, there’s a double appropriacy here: Those taking care of the must-repeat sacrificial animals were the first to learn that the perfect, once-for-all Sacrifice had come!
>> Yes, we know it’s summer, but why not listen to your favorite Christmas music today? Music that celebrates the coming of our Savior should always be in season!