Luke 2:8-12 / A Shepherd’s Heart

Posted on December 27, 2015


This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of December 27, 2015. This message deals with the role of Jesus Christ as our shepherd. This contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

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Luke 2_8-12


Luke 2:8-12 / A Shepherd’s Heart

Who were these shepherds?

Shepherds were often younger family members. They were considered to be a lower class.

In fact, the rabbis considered them to be religious outcasts and their testimony was not admissible in court.

This was because they lived with the sheep and could not keep all the rules and regulations of the rabbis.

Of Course, in reality, its not about keeping the rules and regulations of man, but about faith in Christ!

The revelation of Christ to these shepherds would have challenged the values of many religious people, who despised shepherds.

They were despised because their work kept them from participation in the religious activities of their communities.

I think it’s safe to say that many Christians often look down on others because they don’t “do” enough.

Needless to say, even though they performed an essential and valuable service, they were not very highly thought of.

So why were the shepherds the first to hear?

Perhaps because shepherds would understand.

The Savior, now lying in that manger, was to be the Lamb of God. And as the Lamb, He was destined to die for the sins of the world, to die for these very shepherds as their Savior.

So perhaps shepherds, who cared for the young lambs, who sat through cold dark nights in the fields to guard and protect their flocks, might understand the shepherd’s heart of God the Father.

They might understand what it meant for Him to give His one Lamb for all.


Bethlehem was nearby Jerusalem, and many of the sheep used in the temple sacrifices came from there.

These shepherds may have been caring for the very lambs which were destined for sacrifice during the time of Passover.

There may even be some symbolic connection with David’s being a shepherd in this same area.

Thus, the Messiah’s birth was announced first to Jewish outcasts!

Jesus is our shepherd, and these outcasts would understand exactly what that meant.


The shepherd’s duties would have included the following:

In the morning he led forth his flock from the fold, which he did by going before them and calling them. Jesus does the same.

John 10: 4

Arriving at the pasturage, he watched the flock, and, should any sheep stray, he had to search for it until he found it. Jesus, today, still seeks out the lost.

Luke 15: 4

He supplied them with water, either at a running stream or at troughs attached to wells. Jesus gives us living water.

John 4:10

At evening he brought them back to the fold and checked to see that none was missing by passing them “under the rod” as they entered the door of the enclosure, checking each sheep as it passed, by a motion of the hand.

Jesus is the door, and He knows each of His sheep.

John 10:9, 14

Finally, he watched the entrance of the fold throughout the night, acting as gatekeeper. Jesus is our gatekeeper.

John 10: 3

Psalm 23 was written by a shepherd (David) and it gives us insight into what a shepherd provides.


The shepherds would truly understand a shepherd, and the Lord Jesus Christ is our Shepherd.

Can you say that of Christ?

For the Lord to truly be your shepherd, you have to trust Him with all of your needs, Just as the sheep are totally dependent on their shepherd.

Without the shepherd, the sheep are helpless, defenseless animals.

Do you place that kind of trust in Christ? Is He your shepherd?