Why Shepherds?

Micah also sees the coming King as a “shepherd” – another allusion to David, who a shepherd in the countryside around Bethlehem (see 1 Samuel 16:11).

So as soon as Jesus is born, Luke, the master painter, shows us a field full of shepherds.

This, too, may be a reference designed to stir the hopes of Luke’s readers.

The Lord was Israel’s “shepherd” (see Psalm 23:1 and Psalm 80:2). And God had promised, through the prophet Ezekiel, that He himself would punish Israel’s false shepherds – the rulers and teachers – and replace them with a good shepherd, a new David (see Ezekiel 34), who would gather the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

How fitting then, that the shepherds heard the good news first! Once again, Luke does not speak this directly, but uses evocative language from the Old Testament to show us that the Good Shepherd had arrived.

An excerpt taken from Lesson Four of our FREE online Bible Study ‘HE MUST REIGN’: THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN SCRIPTURE 

Click Here to Read the rest of the Study


Course Description

The drama in the Gospels turns on a single question: Is Jesus the long awaited Messiah, the son of David come to restore the everlasting monarchy promised to David? Underlying this drama are centuries of rival interpretations of the Jewish Scriptures and competing expectations of who the Messiah was to be, the signs that would accompany his coming, and the shape of the kingdom he would establish.

We explore all these issues in this thematic survey course, which goes to the heart of what the New Testament has to say about the identity of Christ and the Church.

We start with a detailed look at the importance of David in the Old Testament, the shape of the Davidic monarchy, and its historic rise and fall. We examine next the messianic hopes of Israel and the traditions of exile and restoration found in the Old Testament and in Jewish literature written between the Old and New Testaments.

We then make a detailed study of how Jesus is portrayed as the Davidic Messiah in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, as well as in Luke’s second volume, the Acts of the Apostles. We round out our study by exploring the Davidic-kingdom imagery in the remaining New Testament texts, and how the biblical understanding of the Church as the kingdom is reflected in the Catholic Church.