There were shepherds living in the fields there, watching their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them. The shepherds were terrified, but the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. Understand – I am bringing you great, joyful news for everyone. Today, in David’s town, a Savior has been born for you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby bound up in a newborn’s clothes and lying in a feed trough.”
And suddenly there was with the messenger of God a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those to whom he gives his lovingkindness!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem right now and see exactly what has happened that the Lord has revealed to us.”
So they hurried there – and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a feed trough. When they saw this, they told them what the angels had told them about this baby. Everyone who heard was amazed at what the shepherds said. Mary treasured these words up in her heart and pondered over them. And as the shepherds returned to their flocks, they glorified and praised God for all they had heard and seen for what they experienced was exactly was they had been told. (Luke 2:8-20 DSV – God’s messenger delivers the good news)
1. Why did God choose nameless shepherds out in a field to be the first to tell about the birth of Jesus? How were shepherds commonly viewed by people? Were they respected, rejected or what? How does this connect with any themes present in the rest of Luke’s Gospel?
2. Three times now in Luke (1:11-12,26-29; 2:9), an angel has appeared to people and the immediate reaction of people has been the same each time – sheer fear. How does this contrast with the way angels are popularly perceived today?
3. How can 2:14 best be translated? It appears in a variety of ways in English renderings. Why the great variation?