The Angels Came First to Shepherds?

J.C. Ryle

We read in Luke 2:8-20 how the birth of the Lord Jesus was first announced to humanity. The birth of a king's son is generally made an occasion of public reveling and rejoicing. The announcement of the birth of the Prince of Peace was made privately, at midnight, and without anything of worldly pomp and ostentation.

Let us mark who they were to whom the message first came that Christ was born. They were "shepherds abiding in the field near Bethlehem, keeping watch over their flocks by night." To shepherds - not to priests and rulers - to shepherds - not to Scribes and Pharisees, an angel appeared, proclaiming, "unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

The saying of James should come into our mind as we read these words: "Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" (James 2:5). The lack of money precludes no one from spiritual privileges. The things of God's kingdom are often hidden from the great and noble and revealed to the poor. The busy labor of the hands need not prevent someone from being favored with special visit from God. Moses was keeping sheep, Gideon was threshing wheat, Elisha was ploughing, when they were each honored by direct calls and revelations from God. Let us resist the suggestion of Satan that religion is not for the working man. The weak of the world are often called before the mighty. The last are often first, and the first last.

Adapted from The Gospel of Luke by J.C. Ryle (Chapter 2).

Originally published July 20, 2010.