The shepherds were considered to be among the lowest levels of society, so why did God choose them to be the first to know of the birth of the messiah?
There are approximately 1,500 years between the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and the establishment of the Passover to the time when Jesus Christ was born. So for 1,500 years, shepherds played a key role in God’s plan to provide enough lambs, year-old males, without defect, so that all Israelite families could remember the Passover and worship God according to His will.
There would be no more need to slaughter lambs from the flock year after year to secure God’s favor and forgiveness of sin. The once-for-all Lamb of God has arrived.
The shepherds were visited by an angel of the Lord and were the first to see and worship the Lamb of God. The significance of the Lamb of God being born would not be lost on the shepherds.
Once again, angels are prominent in this story. A single angel appeared to them at first, and once again, they were terrified at first. After the angel calms them down and gives them the message that the savior had been born, a large crowd of angels appeared, praising God. What a sight that must have been!
The story also points out the effect this event had on Mary. The shepherds relayed this whole story to Mary, and after they left, she was greatly effected by it. She "kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over." What must it have been like to be Mary, trying to process through everything that was happening to her?
If you have a shepherd's staff or lambs wool, show that to the children. Ask them if they know what they are.
What is the worst job they could imagine having? Have you ever been to a farm or ever seen a sheep? Today we are going to learn about some men who had one of the lowest jobs during the time Jesus was born. Their job was to watch over sheep out in the fields. But God chose to give them a very important message about Jesus and a savior being born.
Older students can be read directly from the Bible, since the story is short.
The youngest students can be told the story from a children's storybook Bible.
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud Luke 2:8-20
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?