Shepherds & Angels

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Luke 2:1–20 NIV11-GKE)

Jesus birth was like no other birth in history. It is unique, and yet there are so many points of reference where people all around the world can relate. Some of it is part of our daily life, but there is a supernatural element to it, I mean it involves angels!!

Jesus birth was so human. It was nothing supernatural about it. Mary was feeling the pain of labour, also known as contractions. Contractions, spasms, cramps, convulsions! I don’t want to go on because it is already too painful! Can you imagine the pain of the first birth of a mother to be? I know what it is like to watch it from a close distance.

I can imagine the conversation that took place, and if this was today it provably was like this:
Joseph, stop!!
Joseph, are we there yet?
Joseph, I need a wee, stop now!
Joseph, it is too painful.
Joseph, how much more?
Joseph, I don’t think I can take this anymore.
Mary! Can you let go of my arm, you are chocking it!
Joseph, don’t talk to me! You don’t know what it is like!
Joseph, please find us somewhere, now!
Mary, I am on it!
Mary, are you ok?, Joseph, are you for real?
Mary, I found a place! This will do, we will be fine! I am scared as you are. But we are together!

Mary began to shout, pain all over her body pushing hard for Jesus to be born and then it happened Jesus was born “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them.”

Is this so human? So down to earth? So much like you and me?

The Shepherds’ Fears


“Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2:9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” (Luke 2:8–9 NIV11)

From the terrifying ordeal of given birth for the first time to another kind of fear! The struggle for and of life, the pushing forth so that life and shout out. The screaming mother and the cry of a baby to the petrifying sense of intense fear that the shepherds experienced.

What we have here is the wonder and the mystery of life and the terrifying sight of God’s holiness.

Shepherds were living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks – this we are told in this gospel!

Now let me ask you this:

These shepherds were so used, it was so common, it was part of their job to look after their flock day and night, do you think that they were a bit afraid of the night?

My guess is no, and They were not!

Let me ask you another question:

Do you think they had taken every single precaution for keeping their flock saved?

Yes, they had.

Do you think their flock could recognise the voice of their shepherd?

Yes, they could.

So, what was so terrifying? Why were they so afraid?

They were afraid because what was happening was supernatural, it was something they could not control, and they felt powerless to do anything about it. They just looked up and saw a mighty angel, an angel that was assigned to tell these shepherds that at last and for the only first time only in the life of humanity the Real Shepherd has been born!

They experienced a supernatural encounter and were overwhelmed by the presence of this mighty holy angel of the Lord. Their fear is, therefore understandable, we would not expect anything else!

If you and I encounter an angel of the Lord, we will fear the holiness of God.

Remember, unlike you and me, they stand in the presence of God 24/7.

The Angelic Encounter


“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” (Luke 2:10–14 NIV11-GKE)

The voice of the angel is both reassuring and comforting.

It is comforting because he tells them “don’t be afraid.”

It is reassuring because this angel brings the good news that will cause great joy to all people!

Just let those words sink in our hearts!

Don’t be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. We were made with the capacity to bring joy and to experience joy! It is God’s gift to us, why because he is a Joyful God.

What is the good news? “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger”.

The shepherds heard the angel say “In the town of David a Saviour has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. These are three titles of Jesus, three fulfilled prophesies of Jesus Saviour, Jesus Messiah and Jesus Lord.

This is no ordinary birth. This is a supernatural birth that will change the face and history of this world forever.

Then the angel commissioned the shepherds and told them “You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

There is nothing supernatural about their commissioning. It is the Divine touching earth and making his dwelling among us, just like us.

Why shepherds and not theologians, priests, teachers of the law?

Why Shepherds?

Shepherds have always been in God’s heart. He has described himself as the Shepherd Ps.23 is an excellent example of this “The Lord is my

” The LORD is my shepherd, I will not be in need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For the sake of His name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me all the days of my life, And my dwelling will be in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:0–6 NAS20)

Jesus called Himself a Shepherd.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 ESV)

What we have next is one of the most significant “Suddenly” ever registered in Scripture:
“Luke 2:13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” (Luke 2:13–14 NIV11)

Do you know why worship is so important? Well, this is one reason for all to see!

Jesus came into the world with the sound of heavenly praise.

They praised God the Father for the birth of his Son.

The sang about the Glory of God in heaven and that Glory shining on earth, manifesting his glorious presence with two important divine principles Peace and Favour.

“As the sound of Mary’s shout began to increase then from heaven the sound of a multitude of angels was heard, and Mary shouts of pain became woven into the mighty praise and worship of the very son that Mary just gave birth.”

The Shepherds’ Praise


“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, Lukand all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them” (Luke 2:15–18 NIV11-GKE)

What would you do with this encounter?

Would you be cynical and say “well that is something I did not expect tonight? And do nothing!

Or!

Do you realise that after an encounter with an Angel of the Lord you go and check this out?

I love the fact that they talked to one another and they decided to go to Bethlehem and see for themselves what the Lord told them. This is a sign of obedience and faith, and so they went.

They did, found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the manger, just as the angel told them. From then on, they could not keep this news to themselves, but they spread the word of Good News of Son of God, this child who is Saviour, Messiah and Lord.

There was a wonder in the words of the shepherds and all those who heard them they were amazed.

There is a critical Kingdom principle here: “If you and I want to grow in our relationship with Jesus, then we need to know that any revelation that we have from the Lord, this be a word from Scriptures, during worship, or through hearing God’s, word then obedience to that revelation must follow”.

As we prepare ourselves for this Christmas, let us not lose the Wonder and Fear of the Lord, knowing that the one who was born is Saviour, Messiah and Lord.

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darioleal View All →

Dario is a husband, father, pastor and passionate pursuer of Jesus and His Kingdom. He is a Pastor, loyal friend, and walks the walk when it comes to being a carrier of God’s presence. He expects things to happen when he prays for people. He loves having fun and eating olives (preferably at the same time).

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