Summary: The wolves will attack, but Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
“He Fights Off the Wolf”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Parkview UMC, Newport News, VA
In John Chapter 9…just before our Gospel Lesson for this morning…
…Jesus heals a man who was born blind…and He healed him on the Sabbath.
This infuriated the religious rulers of Jesus’ day, and the man who was once blind was eventually thrown out of the synagogue.
When Jesus heard that he had been thrown out of the synagogue Jesus went and found him.
And when He found him He led him to have personal faith in Him.
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Jesus asked.
“Who is he sir?” the man asked.
“Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
“Jesus said, ‘You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
“Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshipped him.”
After this, Jesus turned His attention to the Pharisees.
And it is in contrast to them that He refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd.
The Pharisees did not have much compassion for the flock of people they were supposed to shepherd.
As a matter of fact, Jesus says in Matthew that the Pharisees were blind guides who made people twice the children of hell as they themselves were.
In Jesus’ eyes, the Pharisees were hired hands.
When they saw the wolf coming they would be apt to abandon the sheep and run away.
The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
The Pharisees were not good shepherds.
Throughout the Old Testament, God is often pictured as the Shepherd and the people are His flock.
And the leaders of the people are often described as the shepherds of God’s people and nation.
Sadly, though, throughout history the leaders of the people have failed miserably.
Listen to what God says through the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament, long before Jesus spoke the words of our Gospel Lesson for this morning.
This is found in Ezekiel Chapter 34: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.
You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.
You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost.
You have ruled them harshly and brutally.
So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.
My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill.
They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.”
Then the Lord goes on to promise:
“I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them…
…I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down…
…I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.”
When Jesus identified Himself as the Good Shepherd, Jesus meant that He was fulfilling God’s promises and doing God’s work.
This is a powerful statement to a hostile audience who had to recognize that they were not doing the work of the shepherd, even though they held the office!
Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
He is the Shepherd Who will risk His life to seek and save the one straying sheep.
He has pity upon us people because we are as sheep without a shepherd.
His disciples, in the Gospels, are described as His little flock.
And when He, the shepherd, is arrested, the sheep are scattered.
Jesus is the Shepherd of human souls, and the Great Shepherd of the sheep!
No one else can be completely counted on.
Jesus is the One Who “lays down his life for the sheep.”
When Jesus sees the wolf coming to attack the sheep, Jesus does not abandon the sheep…like a hired hand would do…
…no, Jesus fights off and defeats the wolf for the sake of the sheep…
…for the sake of you and me…
…for our very lives and salvation!!!
In one of his sermons, John Piper states:
“When Jesus laid down His life for the sheep He saved us from three destroying wolves: sin and death and judgment.
He saw them coming, He went out to meet them, He drew them away from the flock and gave His life to kill them and take away their power so that they will not destroy the flock.