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The Fields: Where the Shepherds Worked

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” (Luke 2:8).

Shepherds generally came from the base elements of society. In that day they were so distrusted that a shepherd’s testimony would not be accepted in a courtroom. Most shepherds were considered on par with vagrants and con men. Plus shepherds were on the lowest rung of the economic ladder and had little or no formal education.

That makes the story all the more remarkable. First they heard and saw the spectacular angelic revelation. Then when they went to Bethlehem they discovered the Savior of the world in a feeding-trough. The birth and the revelation didn’t seem to go together. Yet there it was, all from the hand of God.

On that night in Bethlehem, the shepherds were the only people in the world (besides Joseph and Mary) who knew Christ had been born. After the “400 silent years,” God now speaks through angels to lowly shepherds on a remote hillside outside a tiny Judean village.

It wasn’t a likely way to win the world. Certainly not the way we would have done it. If we had planned it, Jesus would have been born in Jerusalem, to a wealthy family, welcomed by the high and mighty. That way no one would doubt the Son of God had come to earth.

But God’s ways and ours are not the same. He chose to reveal the news to the shepherds first. After their initial fear, they responded in faith. They immediately went to Bethlehem and found the baby Jesus. Everything was just as the angel said it would be.

What did they do then? They told everyone they met what they had seen and heard.

I wonder if we would have been as obedient? Would we have believed? Would we have gone to Bethlehem in the middle of the night? Would we have been as quick to tell the story? What the shepherds did, we all can do. You need no authority, no permission, and no special training to witness for Christ. Simply tell what you know to be true. Talk about Jesus. Tell who he is and what he has done for you. Share your story and invite others to come to Christ.

Good news is for sharing. That’s what the shepherds did. That’s what all of us are called to do.

Grant us the same faith the shepherds had so that we might go and tell everyone about Jesus. Amen. 

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Originally published February 20, 2015.

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