A Good Illustration
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.”
My kids and I were talking about this passage this morning wondering what illustration Jesus would use instead of a shepherd with sheep if he would have come in our day and age where shepherding isn’t such a common thing anymore. Our conclusion was that shepherding is the best example! Even though pastors may have to explain the background of shepherding in olden times, it is worth explaining so people can understand the exact nature of Jesus’ unconditional love for us. He helps the utterly helpless.
Sheep are utterly helpless animals. A hired hand watching over them isn’t personally invested and cares more for his own comfort and safety than those in his care. This is a very important concept to keep in mind for people who are trying to find Truth.
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:3-5, For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. There are plenty of people out there ready and willing to tell people how to live, but their interests are completely personal; they’re selling a book or filling an auditorium. They tell people what they want to hear so they can personally advance themselves in some way. The last thing on their mind is their followers.
But Jesus isn’t like that. And all who preach in his name are genuinely concerned with people’s souls. That is why Paul encourages Timothy in the above passage to not be afraid of suffering for the Lord and to continue in ministry no matter what happens. That might not be what itching ears want to hear, but it’s what they need to hear. And giving people what they need is exactly what Jesus does because he is The Good Shepherd!
Thank you for your perfect illustration The Good Shepherd. Thank you for giving me exactly what I need and never ever leaving me. I love you so much and I am so thankful for all you’ve done and I pray in your name, amen.