There was an interaction between the angels and the shepherds where the shepherds were the first to see Jesus.
The reason why they were there looking after their sheep at night and what the sheep were going to be used for, is an interesting matter for discussion.
The shepherds lived in the open looking after their sheep. They all knew their sheep by name, and each animal knew the voice of its shepherd. Flocks were small, approximately ten to twenty sheep.
If the sheep were Temple Sheep and it makes for a different story.
The shepherds found Jesus as a newly-born baby, (Greek brephos).
Background Reading: – The Shepherds and the Angels – The Shepherds Visit Jesus
2:8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, watching their flock during the night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 Then the angel told them, “Stop being afraid! Listen! I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people. 11 Today your Savior, the Lord Messiah, was born in the City of David. 12 And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
2:15 When the angels had left them and gone back to heaven, the shepherds told one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what has taken place that the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in the feeding trough. 17 When they saw this, they repeated what they had been told about this child. 18 All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 However, Mary continued to treasure all these things in her heart and to ponder them. 20 Then the shepherds returned to their flock, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.
Other modules in this unit:
- The Angel Gabriel spoke to Mary about the birth of Jesus – Luke 1:26-38
- Mary got a visit from the Angel Gabriel – Luke 1:39-40
- Elizabeth gets a visit from Mary – Luke 1:41-45
- Mary sings a song of praise to God – Luke 1:46-56
- An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream – Matthew 1:18-25
- Joseph goes to Bethlehem – Luke 2:1-4
- Mary traveled with Joseph on a donkey – Luke 2:5
- Jesus a newly born baby – Luke 2:6-7 and Matthew 1:18-25
- Shepherds keeping watch – Luke 2:8-12 and 2:15-20
- Angels praised God for the birth of Jesus – Luke 2:13-14
- Jesus at 40 days old was taken to the Temple – Luke 2:22-24
- Simeon blesses Jesus – Luke 2:25-35
- Anna the Prophetess – Luke 2:36-38
- Magi traveled from the east to find Jesus – Matthew 2:1-2
- The visit of the Magi to Herod – Matthew 2:3-8
- Magi followed the star to a house – Matthew 2:9-10
- Jesus as a child in the house – Matthew 2:11-12
- Joseph takes Jesus and escapes to Egypt – Matthew 2:13-15
- Herod the Great plans how to kill Jesus – Matthew 2:16-18
- The return from Egypt to Nazareth – Matthew 2:19-23
- Jesus about twelve years old – Luke 2:41-52
- The cross is still to come – Luke 22:1-24:53 and Matthew 26:1-28:20
- Questions and Answers 1-11
- Questions and Answers 12-23
- Timeline for Birth of Jesus – The Christmas Story
- Background Information – Birth of Jesus – The Christmas Story
- Resources – Birth of Jesus
- Next Module – Ministry of Jesus