“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:8-12You will note from this passage that the angel did not instruct the shepherds to go to Bethlehem. The shepherds were told where to find the Messiah, and they went on their own accord!
What a difference between the lowly shepherds and the great “religious” scholars of the day. When the Wise Men came from the East and questioned King Herod, these “religious” men knew exactly where the Messiah was prophesied to be born. They knew the prophecy of Micah 5:2;
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”They knew the Scripture, but they did not bother to go and look. They missed the Messiah! Even after encountering that great company of influential men, their servants and the military escort that had the entire city of Jerusalem in an uproar (Matthew 2:3), they didn’t bother to go look!
The Mishnah is a compilation of Jewish oral tradition that was written about 200 A.D. This book tells us that Jewish tradition was that the Messiah would be born at the place where Rachel, the wife of Jacob, died giving birth to Benjamin. Rachel, whose name means “ewe, or female sheep,” died in Bethlehem near the Tower of the Flock. (Genesis 35:19-21)
What is fascinating is the fact that the Tower of the Flock was still in existence centuries later at the time of the birth of Jesus. History tells us at that time the Tower of the Flock and the surrounding fields were used for birthing and raising lambs for ceremonial use at the Temple in nearby Jerusalem. It is possible that the Lamb of God, Jesus, was born in this very building. Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, born among other sacrificial lambs! And He was wrapped in swaddling clothes much like that used on newborn lambs to keep them from “skinning their knees” or suffering any other scars in the hours after their birth. The sacrificial lambs had to be without blemish.
The shepherds probably knew exactly where to look for the announced Messiah! What a difference between the shepherds and the scholars, who also knew. May we strive to know the Word of God and to be humble and accept the leading of the Lord, just like the shepherds. Let us pray that those who do not know the Messiah will be wise enough to seek Him when they are told who and what He is. Jesus, our Salvation!
May we praise the Lord for the Lamb of God, and the Salvation we have received because of Him.