Jesus' World and Culture as Seen in the Four Gospels (2)
By Paul Robison 

       When God first gave the news of Jesus’ birth into the world to whom did He turn—the Roman emperor, the Jewish high priest, the devout Essenes (scribes who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls)?  We are trying to better understand Jesus’ life and ministry by looking at His world and culture as seen in the four Gospels.  The following thoughts are based on Luke 2:8-20.  Surprisingly, God revealed this news to a despised group—shepherds.  Shepherds did not have the best reputation; fellow Jews saw them as unclean, unreliable, and greedy.  An angel, however, comes to ordinary shepherds and tells them that in Bethlehem, there has been born a Savior (a deliverer), who is Christ (the long awaited Messiah), the Lord (the Old Testament  title for God)!  This new King would be found in manger wrapped in swaddling cloths.  And then a heavenly army burst upon the scene praising God and singing of peace for all mankind!  Then, they quickly vanished.  “I imagine the shepherds looked at one another as if to say, ‘Will you tell me you saw it, too?’  And then the hillside erupted with enthusiasm as the shepherds, too transparently honest to convince each other of a more believable lie, began to grip each other by the shoulders, eagerness lighting their rough faces, and say, ‘Let’s go!’” (Paul Smith, Jesus, Meet Him Again for the First Time Gresham: Vision House Publishing, Inc. 1994, p. 44).  They did!  As they left the stable, the shepherds shared with all the news of the heavenly announcement and how it had been fulfilled (and they didn’t even take a course on evangelism)!  Like the angels, the shepherds also praised God for the news they had heard and the sight of the Holy Newborn that they had seen to confirm it all!