Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2:11-12 NIV
Have you ever wondered why shepherds were included in Jesus’ birth? Why an angel of the Lord appeared to them, telling them the Messiah was born and where they could find Him?
In “The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi,” Rabbi Jason Sobel writes, “these were no ordinary shepherds. They were Levitical shepherds, trained and tasked with the responsibility of tending and guarding the flocks used for sacrifices in the temple in Jerusalem.”
John B. MacDonald, Living Theology writes, “Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and their surrounding fields were not in the wilderness where ordinary flocks of sheep were kept. Therefore, according to the Jewish regulations, the flocks under the care of the shepherds near Bethlehem must have been ‘for the Temple-services.’ These shepherds watched over sheep destined as sacrifices in the Temple at Jerusalem.”
Where was Jesus born? Rabbi Jason Sobel writes, “Messiah was not born in a stable… He was born in one of the many caves used for birthing these sacrificial lambs, because He Himself would be the ultimate sacrificial Lamb.”
When their sheep were ready to give birth, these shepherds would use specific birthing caves surrounding Bethlehem. As soon as the newborn lambs arrived, the shepherds would bathe them with salt. This removed all the bacteria from their body. Then they would wrap the lamb in clothes to prevent them from any mishaps. They had to be free from any blemish to be used as a sacrifice to God.
So because Jesus is our Sacrificial Lamb:
God is in the details. If He was this specific with how Jesus would come into the world, we can be sure He is into the details of our lives too.
I highly recommend “The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi” by Kathie Lee Gifford with Rabbi Jason Sobel. It will be a spiritual journey you won’t want to miss.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sacrificing Your Son for our sins once and for all. May our hearts be full of Your love that we may love one another as deeply as You love us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.