The First to Hear
When God’s Son was born in a manger in Bethlehem, an unlikely group was the first to hear the news. If it had been up to me, I would have chosen to dispatch an angel to the court of Caesar Augustus. "You call yourself the savior of the world, Caesar? Well, check this out. The real Savior of the world has been born!"
Or, the angel could have appeared to the high priest, scribes, and scholars and announced the news that the Savior had been born.
Instead, God chose to deliver His message to shepherds who were "living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke 2:8). To be a shepherd in that culture was to be at the bottom of the social ladder. Shepherds were despised—so much so that the testimony of a shepherd wasn’t allowed in a court of law.
Shepherds basically did the work that no one else wanted to do. They had dirt under their fingernails. They were hardworking. And they probably felt right at home when they learned that this baby was born in lowly circumstances. They would have related to this. God was speaking their language.
This became the modus operandi of Christ throughout His ministry. He always went to the outcasts, to the hurting, to the ordinary people. He went to people like the woman at the well who had been ostracized because of her multiple marriages and divorces. He went to people like the tax collector Zacchaeus who was perceived by his fellow Jews as a traitor. Our Lord always had time for people like that. He was described as the friend of sinners.
In the same way, those lowly, despised shepherds who kept watch over their flocks were visited by the Lord.