Following the Good Shepherd

 In Catalyst

“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them. ⌊This happens⌋ because he is a hired man and doesn’t care about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me,” (John 10:10-14, HCSB)

You have some enemies. Did you know that? In Revelation, John tells us that the devil has gone to “wage war” against the church. Jesus lists three enemies here.

First, Jesus warns of the thieves who come to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus tells us who these are: “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them.” (John 10:8, HCSB). We might call them false religions, false prophets, demagogues who promise the world, world systems that offer “salvation.” They steal sheep.

Then we are warned of the “hired man.” These are the leaders of false religion…the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, some pastors today…anyone entering the ministry for power or profit or gain. They may seem like well-spoken, caring shepherds until the wolf shows up…then they hightail it out of there.

And of course, there’s the wolf. This is the devil himself. He scatters the flock because he devours whom he can. His goal is to rip apart any and all sheep that come across his path. And it doesn’t matter to him if it is ram, ewe, or lamb. From him we can expect fangs and claws. In my experience, bloody carnage is always the result.

Every child of God needs three things Jesus offers here: the safety of the flock, the care of a called/not hired under-shepherd, and most importantly THE Good Shepherd. Only Jesus, the Good Shepherd, offers the protection we need and the abundant life of being in his care.

The sheep that thinks he can make it out there on his own…with thieves and wolves around…has simply forgotten he’s a sheep. The sheep that thinks he can take on a wolf by himself likewise needs to look in the mirror.

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