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ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

Have you ever wondered why in Luke 2:8-20 that the shepherds are the first ones to be told of the birth of Jesus? I believe that God chose them, as well as the wise men, because they were prepared for the event. Somehow the soil of their souls had been plowed and made ready for the planting of that glorious news.

Who would have understood the idea of a sacrifice better than shepherds? Do you realize how close Bethlehem is to Jerusalem? They are just a few miles apart, separated only by some hills on which the shepherds raised their sheep.

History tells us that many of the sheep raised on those very hills between Jerusalem and Bethlehem were raised specifically to be used as sacrifices in the Temple at Jerusalem. You see, once a year every Jewish family was supposed to come to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices in the Temple for their sins. And the animal that they sacrificed was generally a lamb.

They didn't bring a sacrificial lamb along on the long journey from their homes to Jerusalem. Instead, they would come to Jerusalem and purchase a lamb there from some of the shepherds in order to offer their sacrifice. So, these shepherds knew about sacrifice. They spent their whole lives on the hills outside Jerusalem watching little lambs being born. They would watch them grow to maturity realizing that someday a priest would come and buy them and take them back to the Temple to offer as sacrifices for the sins of the people.

They realized that sin was so awful in God's sight that it required the shedding of blood and the giving of life. So, how appropriate that these shepherds should be the first to hear about the "lamb of God" who would be "the Savior, Christ the Lord. "

They were ready for that. Their minds were uncomplicated. They were not great theologians. They didn't think of reasons not to believe. They just believed. Their hearts and their souls were ready and when God spoke through angels they listened and accepted the news with great joy!

For His Cause
Tim Woodward