Luke 2:8, Shepherds living out in the fields. According to the Mishnah (a rabbinic Jewish legal-historical document from the end of the second century AD), these were no ordinary sheep or shepherds, but were shepherds who watched over sheep that were destined to become burnt offerings, peace offerings and the Passover offering for the temple service in Jerusalem (Mishnah Sheq 7:4; The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, by Alfred Edersheim, pp. 132–133).
Such sheep were kept in the environs of Jerusalem including Bethlehem which lies just five miles south of that city. These sheep were apparently kept outdoors all year round. Presumably they were carefully watched over to keep them safe from incurring any blemish that might render them unusable for the temple service.
Imagine the spiritual and prophetic significance of heaven’s angelic messenger revealing to these shepherds the birth in Bethlehem of the spotless and sin-free Lamb of Elohim who was destined to be sacrificed from the beginning of the world (Rev 13:8; John 1:29; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:22; 1 John 3:5).
The angel announced that this newborn child was YHVH the Messiah (Isa 53:1; Christ the Lord)—the Savior (Luke 2:8 cp. Isa 53:6, 10–11). He once and for all would take away the sins of the world (Heb 10:10, 12), thus rendering their jobs as temple shepherds unnecessary.
Deuteronomy 31:23, He gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge. YHVH is the author of godly leadership. He prepares and trains leaders and then raises them up to lead his people in the paths of righteousness leading to the spiritual Promised Land. Beware of leaders who raise themselves up and promote themselves.
What is the purpose of righteous leadership? (See Eph 4:11–12.) What are the qualifications for leadership ? (See 1 Tim 3:1–13.) What is the premise of true, Spirit-ordained leadership? (See Matt 23:11.)
Many believers have been hurt by kingdom-building, money-grubbing and self-seeking leaders in the church world and now trust no one. They pride themselves on being “independent.” Is this good?
Did Yeshua ever speak of his sheep as being “lone rangers” or did he refer to them as “a flock?” Does he ever speak of his flock as being shepherdless? Of course, Yeshua is the Chief Shepherd, but does he speaks of undershepherds as well? (Read John 10:1–18.) Is a flock that is under the guidance of a servant shepherd a place of safety or harm? Is being outside the flock a place of safety or harm? (See Matt 18:12.)
Yeshua says that those who are outside are “lost” and have “gone astray” and are in danger of perishing (Matt 18:11–14).
Are you part of a literal flock of believers, or have you spiritualized this passage away to justify your independent (rebellious?) spirit against YHVH-ordained authority?