The Shepherds and the Shepherd

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.

(Luke 2:15–16, NIV)

It was time for the Christ Child to be born—in the middle of the night and in a manger. The birth announcement came in spectacular fashion—not on social media nor to powerful leaders of the day but to lowly shepherds on the hillside.

Heavenly messengers proclaimed the news about the Savior who had been born (Luke 2:11). In their excitement, the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem to see this miracle for themselves. But did they imagine this tiny baby was also their Shepherd?

We are compared to sheep throughout Scripture (Psalm 100:3). We stubbornly go our own way (Isaiah 53:6) because we think we can manage life without the Lord. But the truth is, we are lost without Him; we are like sheep without a shepherd (Numbers 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17).

As Jesus ministered to the crowds, “He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). The same compassion that led Jesus to earth and drew Him to people, draws us to Him now.

Ezekiel beautifully described how the Sovereign Lord searches for His scattered sheep and saves them “on a day of clouds and darkness” (Ezekiel 34:12). We have all certainly had our dark days this past year, haven’t we?

But when all hope seems lost, the Shepherd calls our name. He seeks us out, bundles us up, carries us in His arms, and rescues us. He truly is our Shepherd who chose to lay down His life for His sheep (John 10:15).

Who better to announce the Good Shepherd’s arrival than shepherds? The message given to the shepherds on that hillside is the same message for our world today. A Savior is born! After confirming this for themselves, the shepherds spread the message to all who would listen. The task is the same for us today. We have a message of hope for those who live in darkness. A Savior has been born!