Did the shepherds become disciples of Jesus or friends with Mary and Joseph?

Though it’s an intriguing idea, the Scriptures don’t give any evidence to support the theory that the shepherds later became disciples. Remember that about thirty years passed between their encounter with the infant Jesus and the beginning of his ministry, so it’s unlikely that the shepherds would be around for both events.

There’s also the issue of geographical distance; the shepherds were from Bethlehem, but the Holy Family settled in Nazareth. This makes it unlikely that the shepherds continued to be a part of Mary and Joseph’s life after their memorable meeting on the occasion of Jesus’ birth.