2. SHEPHERDS IN THE FIELDS (Luke 2:8-20)
BACKGROUND: At the time of Jesus, shepherds were looked down on, because they were not able to keep the Sabbath. For example, they were not accepted as witnesses to courts. In the Old Testament, angels had appeared only to such great men of God as Abraham, Ezekiel and Daniel.
Think of the everyday life of these shepherds on the mountains of Judea. What were their joys, what were their sorrows?
What do you think the relationship was between the shepherds and God, whose commandments they couldn't keep?
Jerusalem was very close to Bethlehem, with many religious people living there. Why didn't the angel appear to any of those people instead of to the shepherds?
It says in verse 9 that the shepherds were greatly afraid. What were they afraid of?
What do you fear most today? (You can answer in your heart.)
What made the shepherds glad when they heard the words of the angel (vs. 10-12)?
Imagine of the angel saying vs.10-11 to you personally. Do you think you would become glad? Why, why not?
What did the shepherds think when hearing that the long-awaited Saviour was sleeping in a manger? (A Manger is place for the animals to eat hay.)
How would you feel if you were told: "The Saviour of the world is sleeping in a wash-basin?"
What reason did the angels have to rejoice in God's having been born in the midst of dirt, cold, enemies and bacteria (vs. 13-14)?
Why did the Saviour have to be born in such circumstances?
Why did God want to show his Son to someone as soon as he was born?
How did the shepherds find the right stable in the middle of the night?
On what grounds could the shepherds believe that the baby sleeping in the manger was Christ the Lord?
What was in the words of the shepherds that gave comfort to Mary and Joseph who had had a hard night?
Why didn't God send the angels to Mary and Joseph - why did he send the shepherds instead?
The shepherds told many people what they had seen and heard on Christmas night. Why didn't all the others go to worship the baby Jesus?
It took more than 30 years before Jesus became famous - most of the shepherds had died by then. How did the life of the shepherds change after they had seen the newborn Saviour? What remained the same?
What did the shepherds realize about their own relationship with God through these events?
GLAD TIDINGS: The angels were singing about peace and joy on Christmas night. Peace and joy had, however, a price that Jesus had to pay. He started paying it in the manger and finished paying for it on the cross.