What a contrast between the shepherds and the kings who came to see the newborn Son. The kings (or wise men) had been traveling for two years making all of the logistical planning and supplies and staff necessary to sustain a long journey. The shepherds, on the other hand, were close by just on the outskirts of Bethlehem tending their flocks of sheep. Their call to the stable came from an instantaneous night-time magnificent display of sight and sound from an angelic chorus announcing the arrival of the long-awaited promised Messiah. Without any planning, the shepherds made haste to leave their flocks at once and enter the city to find one wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. The kings came in search of the King, the shepherds came in search of the Shepherd. Both were right!
The ultimate King, the conqueror of sin and death, lay gently in the animal feed trough as the kings set their gaze upon the climax of their travel. The Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of mankind also lay peacefully on a cold winter’s night in the presence of the out of breath caretakers of sheep. It was truly so! The Son of David was now born to mankind. David, the greatest king known to Israel, and David, the powerful and brave shepherd boy, was now manifest in both human and divine form. The words of David surely were spoken that night: A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Psa 23:1-6
Abraham was a shepherd and his son Isaac was also a shepherd. Jacob was a shepherd, Moses was a shepherd, King David was a shepherd and so the prophets again were right that the newborn Messiah would be the Son of David and born in the city of David—-Bethlehem.
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. Joh 10:7-18
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]