The Shepherds, The First Visitors

The Shepherds, The First Visitors (Luke 2:1-20)

In this lesson we are looking at the shepherds who were the first visitors to see the new born baby Jesus. In this passage the phrase “in a manger” is found three times. God is careful to point this phrase out for us, and there is a good reason for it. Let us look at some of the reasons why God had his son placed in a manger.

Why the Shepherds?

It is interesting that the shepherds were picked to be the first visitors. But when we think about this it makes perfect sense. In Psalm 23:1 the Bible says that the Lord is my shepherd, and in John 1:29 Jesus is said to be the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Jesus also calls himself the good shepherd in John 10:11. Therefore we see that Jesus as God manifest in the flesh is both the shepherd and the lamb. No wonder God allowed the shepherds to be the first visitors.

Another fact that is reinforced by the shepherds being in the field with their sheep is that Jesus was not born in December. This is not a lesson in which we will take time to prove this fact but it can be done very easily. using the course of the priest in which Zachariah (John the Baptist father) served along with the pregnancy of his wife Elisabeth, and the time given for when the Angel appeared unto Mary. Putting those things together it is easy to see that Jesus was not born in December.

Why was Jesus laid in a manger?

According to the text the answer is simple, there was no room in the inn. But this is also said to be a sign unto the shepherds (Luke 2:12). This sign was also to point them to the one who would be the Savior (Luke 2:11). It should also be a sign for us that shows us Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.

Why was Jesus laid in a manger?

1) Because there was no room in the inn.

  • From this fact we see that the Lord Jesus Christ would be rejected from the beginning. How would you like to be the innkeeper who finds out that he turned away the baby Jesus?
  • The fact that Jesus would be rejected is shown to us in John 1:11 which states, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

2)  To show us his poverty.

  • Imagine the son of God the one who had created the universe having to be born in a stable and laid in a manger. This shows us his poverty. Think about it, if Joseph and Mary had been a well to do family or royalty then someone would have made room for them.
  • But here we see that Jesus was willing to give up his riches in glory and come to this earth and become poor so that we could be made rich through his poverty (2 Corinthians 8:9).

3)  It was a place of sacrifice.

  • The manger was where the animals were fed. They would have either used grain or hay most likely to feed the animals. Either way whether it was grain or hay something had to die in order to feed the animals. So we see that the manger was a place of death or sacrifice for one thing so that something else could live.
  • Jesus makes a comparison concerning himself and a corn of wheat in John 12:24. The comparison is that when a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies it can bring forth much fruit. Through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ he has brought forth countless fruit.
  • In the manger we see a great example of sacrifice and Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. Do you think the shepherds understood any of these facts? Maybe.

4)  The manger was accessible to all.

  • By being born and laid in a manger, Jesus was accessible to anyone that wanted to see him. When the shepherds came they did not have to get special permission to enter in and visit the Lord Jesus.
  • This show us the fact that Jesus is accessible to all. He did not just die for a select few; he died for the whole world. And anyone who will come to him and ask for Salvation can receive it freely today. (John 3:16; Romans 10:13 ; Ephesians 2:8-9)

The sign of Jesus being laid in a manger was very important to the Shepherds in finding the Lord Jesus Christ. But it is just as important for us today because it still points the way to the Savior of the world which is Christ the Lord.

The Shepherds, The First Visitors (Luke 2:1-20)


1)  Why do you think that God chose the shepherds to be the first visitors to see the new born Christ?

2)  What do the shepherds being in the fields reinforce to us concerning facts from the Christmas Story?

3)  Why was Jesus laid in a manger?

4)  What is the typology connected with Jesus being laid in a manger?