And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:8-10
The angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds who were considered unclean because of the nature of their work. The ‘good news’ was proclaimed to the shepherds who, although afraid at first, received the news with joy.
The angel of the Lord did not appear to King Herod or the religious leaders of the day.
When we read Matthew chapter 2, we see that Herod did not receive the news of the birth of the King of the Jews with joy. He was disturbed. Herod’s consternation ultimately resulted in the slaughter of innocent children.
When we read the Gospels, the Jewish religious leaders did not receive Jesus the Messiah with joy. They wanted to kill him. The apostle, John recorded that when Pilate commissioned the inscription ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’ on the cross of Jesus, the Jews protested and wanted the sign changed. They had earlier denied Jesus as their King proclaiming they had no king but Caesar. John 19:12-22
Jesus said in his sermon on the mount: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God …” Matthew 5:8
And the shepherds? They saw God!
While shepherds watched their flocks by night St Phillips Boys’ Choir