How Did the Shepherds Know How to Find Jesus?
This was in a Religion column of our local paper, contributed by Scott Taylor, pastor of “The Well,” a congregation in our town. Pastor Taylor begins the column talking about how one would find their way in a strange place without directions. The title of his column was Why the Shepherds Didn’t Need to Ask Directions. How did the shepherds know where to find the Messiah with so little information? The answer, he says, is right there in scripture and we’ve missed it. Micah 4:8. “And thou, O tower of the flock, unto thee shall it come.” He says this statement pinpoints Bethlehem and the precise location, the “tower of the flock.” Here’s the rest of his story.
The shepherds in Bethlehem were no ordinary shepherds; their sheep were no ordinary sheep. The sheep tended by rabbinical shepherds in Bethlehem provided the sacrificial lambs for the temple in Jerusalem just five miles down the road. The stone “tower of the flock” had two purposes: the top of the tower served as the shepherds’ watchtower for predators of the flock; the lower room of the tower was the birthplace for sacrificial lambs for the temple.
The shepherds would carefully inspect every newborn lamb. Those lambs without spots, blemishes or imperfections would be wrapped in strips of swaddling cloths to protect their perfect white wool. The shepherds laid the newborn lambs in the manger until they were steady on their feet to prevent broken bones, which would have made the lamb imperfect.
The rabbinical shepherds knew the prophecies in scripture. The angel’s announcement of the coming of the Messiah to Bethlehem to the “tower of the flock” was not the first time the shepherds learned of this great upcoming event. They didn’t need directions; they had been waiting their whole lives.
What divine design that the Lamb of God would arrive with the other sacrificial lambs! Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the whole world.
Did you know this? Have you heard this before? Is this historically correct? If it is, it seems to be rather important historical information that’s been overlooked. What do you think?