“Would you say they had a plethora of angels?” - Luke 2:8-14
Shepherds as a whole were not the most respected folks around these parts. They couldn’t serve or give testimony in a court of law, and were known to “confuse” other sheep with theirs, and so add to their flock. There is no reason to think that these particular blokes were moving stolen property, nor that they were sketchy. But as a whole, you’d probably have wanted your baby to grow up to be a cowboy over a shepherd. One trait was “true” about all shepherds, whether sketchy or honorable: they were unclean ceremonially unclean. Not only ceremonially, but likely took on some of the smell of the sheep. It just may have made dating and fellowship quite difficult!
1.) There are certain times in life when you feel surrounded, and there are certain times you are actually surrounded. What do you picture when you read that shepherds were surrounded by the glory of the Lord? What might that have looked felt like? Has anything like that ever happened before in the OT? (Read exodus 16:10)
2.) As with all angelic “cameo’s,” the first response is always fear. How is this encounter different than the other two we’ve seen thus far? How is this fear described? Did the fact that there was more than one shepherd, meaning, “they had each other,” do anything to their fears? What does that tell us about some of our solutions to our fears?
3.) We probably can’t imagine the shepherds’ relief at hearing the angelic comfort. We often refer to the gospel as an announcement of good news, not good advice. How does this passage of “good news” reinforce that point? This is an announcement of something that has been done, not something for them to do! God has done it as evidenced through this child.
4.) Did Gabriel need a “back-up” band? What is the point of having the other angelic accompaniment? What do they add to the story? El Guapo from the movie Three Amigos would have described the angelic number as a “plethora” but the ESV translators used “multitude.” Do the right kinds of numbers make a difference when it comes to angels? How does “the more the merrier” make a difference now?
5.) Who are these heavenly hosts? Is having army angels announce this peace ironic or is it appropriate? Peace comes not from shedding others blood, but Jesus shedding his own.These sheep are likely sacrificial sheep used for temple sacrifice. Soon these shepherds would have to tend a different flock of sheep as Jesus becomes the Lamb of God and final sacrifice to end all sacrifices!