The Birth of Jesus
In these verses, Luke stresses the link between Jesus and King David from the Jewish Scriptures. David came from Bethlehem and Luke describes how Joseph, a descendant of David, had to return there for a census. This is important because it had been prophesised that the ruler over Israel would come from Bethlehem. Shepherds, at the time of Jesus, were outcasts. They spent most of their lives alone, wandering the fields with their sheep. They had a bad reputation for stealing-grazing sheep on land that wasn't theirs. They would have smelled bad, and their work meant that they would have been unable to carry out their Jewish reigious duties. It was to these outcasts that the news of the Messiah's birth was given- a sign that this Messiah was for everyone- even the poor and marginalised. The shepherds were terrified by the prescence of the angel. They were told that a Saviour had been born in Bethlehem. An army of angels appeared, singing praises to God: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on Earth to those with whom he is pleased" The Shepherds found the baby as the angel desribed, lying in a feeding trough. Though Jesus was 'Messiah', his birth was humble. He was not going to be the kind of king or ruler that people expected the Messiah to be.