“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night… And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” - Luke 2:8,10,11
From age to age the prophecy of the long awaited Christ was finally revealed. Who would be the first to hear this great news? Would it be royalty? Would it be the priests? Would it be the wealthy and influential? This revelation of Christ’s birth was given to the most unlikely group of people imagined – shepherds!
Shepherds lived in isolation out in the fields with their dirty sheep. This was considered a lowly profession among society. However by the grace of God, these shepherds were given the first notice of the revelation of the birth of Christ into the world.
If you read Luke chapter 2 you will find that these shepherds did not let anything hinder them from seeking the Christ-child once they heard the message. After this great revelation from the angel by night these shepherd left their flock in search of Christ. This was absolutely unheard of for a shepherd to leave his flock, and especially at nighttime while predators were lurking. Nevertheless, these shepherds left their job in search of the Savior. This is a great example for those who claim the name of Christ but they are just too busy to read His word and worship with His people. Sadly, many Christians today have a “But-faith.” “But my job.” “But my family.” “But my friends.” “But I have faith!” These shepherds heard the message of Christ and they did not allow for distractions, but rather they dropped everything and took opportunity to seek Him who was the Savior. These common folk were not too busy for the Savior.
Once these shepherd found Christ and testified of the message from the angel it says in verse 20 that, “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” The overwhelming grace of God that was revealed to them was turned back to God in praise. This is the “Grace and Gratitude” dynamic that is found all throughout the scriptures. God in grace goes to the needy sinner and he or she becomes a recipient of His sovereign grace. Then in turn, the grace that they have received, it is expressed back to God in the form of gratitude. These shepherds understood that the angel’s message was not of judgment or condemnation, but rather a message of grace and restoration. This is a positive message of great joy. So these shepherds who received the message of grace departed by “praising God” for this Christ-revelation.
David C. Hale, pastor