Edershiem and Barclay both espouse the theory that the shepherds which visited at Jesus’ birth watched over the sacrificial sheep destined for the Temple and that these were special herders. An unblemished lamb was offered as a sacrifice to God morning and evening in the Temple. To see that the supply of perfect offerings was always available the Temple authorities had their own private sheep flocks; and we know that these flocks were pastured near Bethlehem.
Maybe that’s why God chose these men to hear the first announcement of the Savior’s birth. Their sacrificial lambs would symbolize the coming Lamb of God.
Even if they were the Temple shepherds, they were still looked down on by the mainstream of the culture. It was impossible for them to keep all the meticulous laws, for their sheep required that they perform tasks the orthodox viewed as unclean.
The elite of the religious people scorned them, but God announced His Son to them. In the blackness of night, a divine glory and splendor came to these shepherds…the announcement of glad tidings of joy to all the world.
In His action, God provided for man’s release from sin. He provided light to dispel the shadows of darkness. He provided love that would strike a deathblow to fear. Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was God’s provision for the “insignificant” of humanity.
After hearing the angel’s announcement, these insignificant outcasts started on the road to find Jesus. We also should take the road, not to Christmas, but to Bethlehem. With the shepherds, we may pay homage and honor to our Savior and King who lifts us from insignificance to significance. That’s why He came to earth. His birth made your spiritual birth possible. That is the most significant event of your life.