8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.
18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Once again, Luke is showing that among the gospel writers, he is the historian. Luke’s 2nd chapter includes parts of the gospel story that are simply not found in the other gospels. Here are the noteworthy items that only Luke records.
- The promise and birth of John the Baptist
- The annunciation
- Mary’s visit to Elizabeth
- Birth of John the Baptist
- The shepherd’s adoration of Jesus
- The visiting angel to the shepherds
- Circumcision of Jesus
- Jesus presented at the temple
One should also notice a short phrase uttered by the angel that spoke with the shepherds. The angel said,
Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10)
Above and beyond the other gospels, Luke emphasized that the gospel was for all people. It is clear that Luke want’s to bring the good news to the gentiles. This should come as no surprise since he was a companion of Paul, the apostle to the gentiles. The gospel is not just for the Jews or for the elite. The gospel is for the shepherds, the commoners, the meek, the humble.
Here marks the first time anyone bears witness to the birth of Jesus Christ. Alongside this witness comes great joy and celebration. The Savior of this world has been born and it is now time to spread the good news! God did not waste any time in letting the world know that Jesus has now come and He begins by using the Shepherds as a means to start.
It is a beautiful scene when we see Mary bearing witness to all that the Angel had made known to her. Her heart must have been filled with joy, excitement and thankfulness and God’s faithfulness in bringing about the Savior of this world.
The Shepherd’s have the ultimate privilege of being the first witnesses of the birth of Christ. They were the first to spread that news to those around them and begin planting the seed of what was to come. Verse 18 says “and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds had told them”. This was just the beginning of what the world would do at hearing about Jesus Christ. Interest in who He is will grow and intensify in years to come when Jesus begins His ministry.
The response the Shepherd’s had was filled with joy and excitement. They praised God for allowing for them to bear witness to a moment that will never be repeated again. Let us also rejoice in God’s faithfulness to bringing about one who came to save us from our sin and offer us a new eternal life found only in Him.
[Featured image titled “Shepherds”, by Peters Nicholas Berchem]