Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. (Luke 2:17-20)
They Forgot The Baby
The perception of the Jewish mind to the coming of the Messiah was a hindrance for the people of Jesus’ day to see Him as the fulfillment of the prophetic word. Jesus did not fit the mold because He did not appear in the manner expected of the coming Savior. His earthly father was a carpenter and Jesus came from the city of Nazareth. There was no royal heritage that elevated His status among the people and from the viewpoint of the religious leaders; Jesus was an uneducated unimpressive common man. The story of Jesus did not interest the world of the perceived ideas of the coming Messiah. Everything about the life of Mary’s son was dull and meaningless. When the true Messiah comes He would appear suddenly from concealment and show Himself by power miracles.
In the fields outside the city of Bethlehem, shepherds kept watch over their sheep in the comfort of the vibrant spring night. It was a beautiful time of year with new birth and warmer days from the harsh nights of winter. The men settled into gathering their sheep together and joining one another for a quiet meal and conversation. Suddenly the night sky erupted in brilliant hues of divine light as an angel of the Lord stood before them and the shepherds trembled in fear as to the meaning of the manifestation. The angel told them not to be afraid and that He would tell them the great news of joy to be told to all people. In the city of David, a baby had been born that was Christ the Lord who was the Savior. The shepherds would find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the hosts of angels had gone away, the startled shepherds went into the city seeking the newborn babe lying in a manger.
In a short time, the men found Joseph and Mary huddled around a babe lying in a manger. They made widely known the events of that night when the hosts of angels appeared to them and the marvel at finding the infant child lying in a manger. The message of the shepherds was the announcement of the coming Messiah. Long promised and desired by the people, the Christ would deliver them and set them free. There was great joy among the multitudes who heard the story of the child born in Bethlehem. They marveled at the news of the Christ being born and found in a manger. The shepherds continued to tell the story of the child and how the promised Messiah of God had finally come. It was a time of rejoicing and anticipation. Messiah had arrived. There was great hope. And then the news died down. A few years later some men from the East arrived in Bethlehem and after they left the Roman army sent its troops into the small city and killed every male child two-years-old and under. Bethlehem was overwrought with grief at the murder of the innocents. It would be twenty-eight years later before anyone heard about the Messiah again.
The scriptures do not tell what became of the shepherds. Their story faded into the forgotten memories of the people. The baby born that night left Bethlehem when He was around two-years-old and lived in Egypt for a while before going to a city of Galilee called Nazareth. He would grow up the son of a carpenter and have five brothers and some sisters. His life was uneventful for thirty years. One day a man came preaching the coming of the kingdom and the gospel of repentance. His name was John and he foretold the coming of the Messiah. Soon after, a man from Nazareth began to show divine power through miracles and astound the multitudes with His teaching. He would teach among the people for three years before the Jewish leaders would have him killed. The story of the shepherds was forgotten. Their wonderful news of the arrival of the baby in the manger fell to the dust of yesterday. No one could see in Jesus the story of the Messiah. He was from Nazareth and the Christ was to come from Bethlehem. It seems no one took the time to ask Jesus where He was born. If they had, the story of a group of shepherds finding a baby in the manger would have told them Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God.