Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The birth of Jesus Christ was not revealed to kings or rulers. It was not revealed to the religious elite. When God came to earth, He let the world know by announcing the birth of His Son to lowly shepherds.

Why Shepherds?

Luke 2:8-20


The birth of Jesus Christ was not revealed to kings or rulers. It was not revealed to the religious elite. When God came to earth, He let the world know by announcing the birth of His Son to lowly shepherds. Why? Perhaps He wanted the poor and outcast of society to know that they were important too. It may have been that God wanted the lowliest of humanity to realize that His love included them, especially in a world where they were normally excluded. Moreover, it seems to me that He wanted all of us to understand that the qualities of love, mercy, and compassion were to be extended to everyone regardless of their social standing.


Note: Among Jews at the time of Christ’s birth, shepherds were held in very low esteem. In the Talmud it is written that shepherds were not allowed in the courts to be witnesses. In fact the Talmud instructs that no help be given to heathens or to shepherds. Shepherds were despised because they were unable to attend temple services and to keep the rituals and ceremonial laws as their flocks kept them from practicing their religion. (see "The Pulpit Commentary" on Luke 2:8-20)

A. Jesus Identifies With The Meek And Lowly. Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Corinthians 1:26-30; 1 Peter 5:5

Illustration: Poverty Perspective

In Hollywood there is an exclusive school attended by children of movie stars, producers, and directors. Asked to write a composition on the subject of poverty, one little girl started her literary piece: "Once there was a poor little girl. Her father was poor, her mother was poor, her governess was poor, her chauffeur was poor, her butler was poor. In fact, everybody in the house was very, very poor. (James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 371.)

1. He identifies with those who are weary. (Matthew 11:28-30)

2. He identifies with those who are unwise (unlearned in the ways of the world). (1 Corinthians 1:26-30)

a. If God were revealed in the wisdom of man, only wise men could know Him.

b. If God were revealed in the strength of man, only strong men could know Him.

c. If God were revealed in the accomplishments of man, only the proud could know Him.

d. If God were revealed in the wealth of man, only the rich could know Him.

e. God chooses to reveal Himself in those who are despised in the world so that when the miracle of salvation is wrought in them, God alone receives the glory.

3. He identifies with those who are humble. (1 Peter 5:5)

4. He identifies with those who are tempted. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

a. Jesus endured the same temptations we all face, but remained sinless because it was impossible for Him to sin.

b. Being tempted as we are, He sympathizes with our weaknesses. (Psalm 103:13-14)

c. He knows the struggle with temptation because He faced the full weight of temptation.

d. When we are tempted, we eventually reach a breaking point where we give in to the temptation.

e. At that point, the temptation stops ecause we sin.

f. We are never fully tempted, because in our weakness, we eventually crumble under the strain.

g. But because Jesus could not sin, He was forced to bear the full weight of temptation with no possibility of relief.

h. Our only escape from temptation is to come boldly to the throne of grace.

i. Here we find our escap route. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

B. Jesus Cares For Me As A Shepherd Tending His Flock. John 10:11-16

Illustration: Leading The Way

Dr. Marion Anderson relates this story:

I was riding in a tour bus from Jerusalem to Jericho, sitting in the front seat, since I was leading a group, and about half asleep, having made the same trip many, many times. Suddenly, the bus lurched to a stop, waking me up. There in the middle of the street was a Shepherd. Now, with a 48-passenger bus running straight at me, I wouldn’t be out there, but there he was. And the sheep started to cross the road. Not all at once, but in twos and threes and ones. But the shepherd never shooed them, or hurried them, he just stood his ground until the last sheep was safely off the road. Then he followed them, and threaded his way through the flock until he was back up front again, leading the way. (Source unknown).

1. The Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

2. He watches for the wolf, and warns the sheep when he is near.

3. He searches for other sheep, which also become part of the fold.


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David Robinson

commented on Dec 14, 2007

I would like to know where you found the qoute from the Talmud concerning the shepherds

Richard Goble

commented on Dec 15, 2007

Sorry for the omission. I found this in the Pulpit Commentary on Luke 2:8-20

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