The Least Expected

by SomeGirl on December 15, 2011 · 10 comments

Did you know that the shepherds watching over their flocks on the night of Christ’s birth were not innocent, sweet, or of high regard?

Year R Nativity - A Shepherd

Year R Nativity - A Shepherd by henley_regatta, on Flickr


They were quite the opposite, despised among the general public – in the same class as tax collectors and dung sweepers.


Shepherd by AfghanistanMatters, on Flickr


Seen as thieves, scoundrels, and low-life’s (no offense to the man in the picture)…

Smug religious leaders maintained a strict caste system at the expense of shepherds and other common folk. Shepherds were officially labeled “sinners”—a technical term for a class of despised people. – Eternal Perspective Ministries

God chose the least expected, most undesirable people to hear and share the message of The One who had come to give Life to all people… Lowly, unrighteous, undeserving shepherds. He came to sinners, for sinners… Thanks be to God for that!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 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.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:8-20

Something to think about.

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It’s always so good to be reminded of the “horrible” people in the bible. Sometimes we equate biblical people with holiness. It’s not until you really start digging in that you realize that God used sinners to spread his message and they are just like US! I soaked up the story of Bathsheba, and thought “Wow. Just wow”.

Robert Moon

Wow, I actually had not researched how looked down upon the Shepherds were. Meek and lowly High and mighty all may come to the saviors cradle.


I did not know that about the shepherds – thought provoking indeed! And just like Jesus, right? Thank you so much for sharing this. It makes the Christmas story even more meaningful. Shepherds and kings coming together to celebrate the birth of a baby. Wow.


Loved your post! The story of the shepherds helps remind me that I’m worth his time, too. He talks to me. . .one who you would least expect.
Beautifully thought provoking ~ thank you!

Deb Chitwood

I never realized that about the shepherds either. Definitely thought-provoking! Thanks, Michelle! :)

Laurie Collett

Great post! Seems like whenever angels appear, their first words are “Fear not!” because that would be a terrifying visitation, especially if your lifestyle has a few flaws. But Praise God that He replaces fear with faith!

Blue Cotton Memory

I had always thought of shepherds like farmers. I didn’t realize they were outcasts. I was telling my son last night, that God wants us to pray for those bullies at school – because He wants them as much as He wants us. Jesus came to save them, too – and they need our prayers so terribly much.

Those lucky shepherds – to have angels speak to them, to hear them sing. It makes you wonder how their lives changed – and to have seen our Savior. Makes me think, “Wow.”

Thanks for the history lesson – and the blessing that came with it!


I’m so glad God is no respecter of persons. :)

Hazel Moon

This is an outstanding post. Jesus was surrounded by sinners from his birth onward. Today he is still seeking those who are lost — shepherds or what have you!


The low, the humble, the needy, the dirty, the injured, the outcast, the shepherds as a child, the tax collectors as an adult, and yet kings watched him like hawks. Paul said “all things to all people” our Lord is the ONE who calls ALL people. like you said, the least respected, the despised. These last couple of weeks, I’ve known the shepherd position. Some people said some kind things to lift the shepherd back up off the ground, and point them him to a Savior. Thank you. God bless you Michelle.

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