The Shepherds’ Viewpoint of Christ’s Birth

The Christmas story is one we are all familiar with.  Even non-Christians know the basic idea behind the story. Jesus came to the earth in a stable where he was laid in a manger and shepherds came to worship Him, but like everything God set in motion it’s never just that simple. 

You see the Lord spent thousands of years (literally) trying to make way for Jesus to come into the world.   This is what we call “the battle of the ages”.  Satan spent his whole life trying to keep Jesus from entering the earth.  

All throughout the history of Israel we see God sending prophets to his people only to have them killed or shunned.  Satan’s goal was to corrupt the seed.  Think about Noah.  He was of pure blood and followed God, but everything else was become corrupted and perverted by “giants” (see Genesis 6). 

So with all of this happening we can see Jesus’ birth was not uncontested, but still on this night Mary gave birth to the Savior.  

Today, I want to look at the birth of Jesus from the shepard’s perspective. 

Why were the shepherds there?

So in order to understand what has happening we have to understand why the shepherds were there. 

The shepherds were believed to be at Migdal Eder or “the Tower of the Flock” (see https://www.dawsoncreekmirror.ca/opinion/sacrificial-lambs-and-swaddling-cloths-3506428 ).  This is just the watchtower that would allow the shepherds to see a higher view of their sheep.  

You see the sheep that they were watching over were for the passover feast. 

According to the Mosaic covenant the Jews needed to sacrifice a spotless lamb as a representation of the coming Messiah who would cleans our sins. 

Jesus was that lamb, but how were the shepherds to know that?  

And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.

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, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:9-11 KJ21

Why were the shepherds afraid you might ask?  Well, remember the spiritual battle that I briefly mentioned?  This is the host of angel armies talking to the shepherds.  

That word “behold” means “grasp the spiritual truth”.  The angels are saying, “Can’t you see what’s happening!? Look around at the angel armies.  The Savior is here!” 

But where is “here”?

Many scholars believe that the true birthplace of Jesus wasn’t what we would think of as a barn, but rather a cave.  Not just any cave, but the cave where sheep would give birth to their spotless lambs that would be for the Passover feast. 

That is why the angel of the Lord follows up his statements with this next verse. 

And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:12 KJ21

This was significant to the shepherds.  They understood what this meant!  This baby is the Messiah!  

Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger in the very caves that these shepard’s sheep would give birth to their lambs.  These lambs just like Jesus would be wrapped tightly in strips of cloth and laid in a manger.  They did this to keep the lamb from hurting itself and making it unusable for the sacrifice. 

So when the shepherds came to worship it wasn’t simply because the angels came and told them.  These shepherds understood that this was the Savior because this was their job! 

The angels said HORAO (BEHOLD!) – grasp this truth that’s in front of you! 

JESUS IS THE MESSIAH. 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

Luke 2:14 KJ21

If you remember one of my previous posts, I talked about this peace and good will toward men.  (See Peace that’s not like the world’s | Salvation from Brokenness

This peace is a Greek word meaning “when all essential parts are joined together; peace (God’s gift of wholeness)”. 

Jesus came to join all the essential parts together.  Us with Him together in fellowship once again.  God’s entire goal was to restore what we gave away – our fellowship with Him.  

This is “the Gospel”

This is the gospel and entire point of Jesus coming to the earth.  We can have a relationship with God.  

It all starts by believing in our heart and confessing with our mouth that JESUS IS LORD.  We simply confess that Jesus is Lord and Savior.  Romans tells us…

For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God—

not by works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 KJ21

There’s nothing we could ever do to make ourselves righteous, but that’s good news because Jesus has already done it all!  We simple have to receive it. 

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely will one die for a righteous man, yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8 KJ21

So if you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Lord, you can pray this prayer and receive Jesus as your Savior today. Maybe you’ve fallen away and were a Christian, but now you aren’t sure. This is the day of your salvation. Don’t wait for a more convenient time to serve the Lord and accept His freedom.  

Pray this where you are right now.

Lord I believe that you came to earth in a lowly manger to be the sin sacrifice for me – the spotless lamb.  There’s nothing I could ever do to deserve your sacrifice, but while I was a sinner you died for me.  I believe in my heart that you died on the cross and rose again 3 days later.  Thank you that I am now a child of God.  In Jesus Name, Amen