Shepherds in the Fields

Shepherds living in the fields

Shepherds in the Fields
LUKE 2 COMMENTARY
Luke 2:3-7 Joseph and Mary

Luke 2:8-12 Shepherds in the Fields

Luke 2:13-20 Glory to God
LUKE 2:8  8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields in that region, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Where were the shepherds?
The root of αγραυλουντες (agraulountes), the original Greek word translated “living out in the fields” (Luke 2:8), is αγρος (agros), which refers to a field cultivated for agriculture. So the shepherds were living in crop fields.

Why is that significant?
Shepherds with flocks of sheep could not enter crop fields during the spring or summer, lest the sheep eat the crops, and the winters were too cold for sleeping outside overnight. The time of the year when shepherds and their sheep could enter and stay in these crop fields was the fall after the harvest, when farmers invited the shepherds into their fields with their flocks so that the sheep can “clean” their fields by eating the straw. This means Jesus was born in the fall, not in December.

What month in the fall?
Mary's pregnancy began during the “sixth month” (Luke 1:36) of Elizabeth's pregnancy, which began just after her husband Zacharias, who was of the division of Abijah (Luke 1:5) had performed his duties of “priesthood” in the “sanctuary of the Lord” (Luke 1:9). The division of Abijah performed its priestly duties in the temple during the latter half of the fourth month in the Jewish calendar, which starts after Passover. Since Passover is in March/April of our Gregorian calendar, Elizabeth conceived in June/July (fourth month from March/April), and Mary conceived in December/January (sixth month from June/July). And since “the days were fulfilled for her to give birth” (Luke 2:6), Mary gave birth at full term, so Jesus was born about nine months thereafter in September/October.

Then why does the world celebrate Christmas on December 25th?
After the Roman Empire officially switched from paganism to Roman Catholicism in the 4th century AD, it re-branded a pagan holiday in late December as Jesus’ birthday so that a big feast could continue to be held around the winter solstice, which is the shortest and the darkest day of the year.

How did the Romans celebrate the pagan holiday before this re-branding?
They spent money and had parties.

How does the world celebrate Christmas today?
 

What do the Christmas tree, tree ornaments, Santa Claus, mistletoe, and yule log have in common?
None of them are in the Bible; all of them are pagan entities parading as Christian traditions.

How does telling children about Santa Claus impact them later?
They associate the birth of Jesus with a lie, and a free gift with their own goodness.

Is saying “Merry Christmas” Christian?
The “mas” in “Christmas” refers to the Roman Catholic mass, during which the priest claims to turn bread and wine into the actual human flesh and blood from Jesus' crucified body, which are then eaten and drunk by those gathered (see I am the bread of life). When the Santa Claus says, "Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!", he is mocking Jesus' crucifixion.

What should Christians share on December 25th?
The Gospel, as on all other days.

LUKE 2:9-12  9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people, 11 for there has been born to you today in the town of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in the manger.”

What was the angel doing above?
Making an introduction of Jesus to the people on earth.

Why make this introduction to shepherds?
Jesus is the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29). Who is more qualified than shepherds to welcome a lamb into the world?

Does the angel introduce Jesus as the “Lamb of God”?
No, as “Savior,” “Christ,” and “Lord” (Luke 2:11).

What do they mean?
“Christ” means “the Anointed One” or “the Chosen One.” The penalty God mandated for sin is death (see Romans 6:23), and only Jesus was sinless and therefore could be anointed/chosen to pay the death penalty for others. Jesus is our “Savior” because He saved us from our sins and everlasting torment in hell. And Jesus is our “Lord,” who is someone to be obeyed unconditionally.

Do you unconditionally obey the One you call, “Lord”?