Jeni and Ray Cook Furr
8 That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. 9 All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. 10 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy.
Why shepherds? Jesus is the Messiah. The King of Kings. Shouldn’t the angels have appeared to kings? Lots of people listen to kings. Shepherds were poor, simple people. They didn’t spend much time with others because most of their time was in the fields watching their sheep. They didn’t take many baths so they were not allowed inside the Temple. So, does it really make sense for the angel and the heavenly choir to make such an important announcement to shepherds at night in a field?
Maybe Luke wants us to make the connection that Jesus is related to Israel’s greatest king—David. He was a shepherd when he was a boy. He was born in Bethlehem. The Prophets said the Messiah would be one of David’s offspring. Telling the shepherds first reminds us about these prophecies.
Maybe Luke is trying to tell us something else too. In Luke’s gospel, he says the kingdom of God is like a huge dinner banquet that includes all kinds of people — people who don’t dress like us, speak English, and even those who need a shower. Maybe going to the shepherds first was God’s way of announcing to all of us — don’t be scared. I have good news. Starting now, you have a place reserved at God’s dinner table. Come eat with us—just as you are. Now that’s some really good news.