And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2:8
Try to imagine if you were God and could announce the arrival of humanity’s Savior. Would you send yours messengers to some shepherds out in the fields as they whiled away their nighttime watch? Why not send angels to Jerusalem instead? Or to the megalomaniac King Herod? Or Caesar? Wouldn’t that be an amazing night’s work if you were able to change everything with a few simple words?
God chose the shepherds. Shepherds were rather rough characters at that time, who performed the tedious tasks that many others were unwilling to do. They appeared ragged, smelled like goats or sheep, and were used to sleeping on the cold, hard ground.
The Bible mentions extraordinary shepherds frequently. David, the “shepherd king” of Israel, had cared for his people just as he’d cared for the sheep when he was a boy in the fields outside of Bethlehem. David wrote the incredible words of Psalm 23 because he knew what it meant to be a good shepherd, and he knew that God was his good shepherd.
Jesus, a descendant of David, came to earth to be our good shepherd. In the Gospel of John, Jesus said he knows us as His sheep. He, our good shepherd, lays down his life for his sheep.
So on the night that Jesus’ would come into this world, the process was set in place for the day he would lay down his life for the world. All of this in the fashion of a truly good shepherd. So an angelic visitation to shepherds, men who understood feeding, guiding and saving, was the best way for His life to begin.