The Shepherds' View of a Miracle (Dec., 2021)
Christmas is a special time that we gather with family and friends. We exchange gifts and fellowship around food and conversation. …And then, there is a special joy that we have in watching little children’s eyes light up as they gaze upon the Christmas tree with the twinkling lights and tinsel. …But, we know, that Christmas is so much more than this.
“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Listen carefully, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us)” (Is. 7:14 Amp.) “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah; From you One shall come forth for Me [who is] to be Ruler in Israel, His goings forth (appearances) are from long ago, From ancient days” (Micah 5:2 Amp.). These are only two prophetic Scriptures among many announcing the coming of the Messiah. We see these passages come to pass in Luke 1 and 2. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, a virgin, and told her that she would conceive a child known as the Son of the Highest (1:32 Passion). He explained that the Spirit of Holiness would fall upon her, and the almighty God would spread His shadow of power over her in a cloud of glory, and she would conceive (1:35 Passion). Mary became pregnant with Jesus.
We read that Joseph and Mary made a 65-mile trip to Bethlehem to be taxed. While in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor. They looked for a place where they could stay for Mary to deliver. Bethlehem did not have an inn as we know it today. Visitors stayed in the upstairs level of a home. Since many went to Bethlehem to be taxed, these rooms were all taken. Joseph and Mary, most likely stayed downstairs of someone’s home. This was an all-purpose room that served as a workshop during the day; and at night, it was used to shelter frail animals. It contained a drinking trough or manger cut in the bedrock. Most likely, this is where baby Jesus was placed after his birth. (Notes in Passion Translation).
The angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds as they watched over their sheep. It is believed that these fields were where sacrificial flocks were kept for temple worship. Just think with me, they were chosen to hear the announcement of the birth of the Lamb of God. (Meditate this.) The Lamb, Jesus, Who would be offered for the sins of all people. The Bible tells us that the shepherds were terrified. Well, can you imagine? Out of the still of the darkness, the whole field is lit up with the radiant splendor of an angel. He exclaims to them, “For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah.You will recognize him by this miraculous sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in the feeding trough!” (2:11&12 Passion).
Why was this part so miraculous? There were many reasons, but I want to focus on what this would mean to the shepherds. Ewes that were about to give birth would be brought to the lower level of a building called the watchtower (Migdal Eder). The priestly shepherds would wrap the lambs in cloth and lay them in a manger lined with soft hay to prevent them from hurting themselves, for Passover lambs must be unblemished with no bruise or broken bone. The miracle? The shepherds found Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes lying where the Passover lamb should be—in a manger, wrapped in strips of cloth. Jesus, the Lamb of God, the One where there was no blemish; He, the spotless Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:19).
He took away your sin, mine, and all of the world.Join me and let us sing with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).