I love thinking of Jesus as my Good Shepherd. I can imagine being a fluffy sheep, following Jesus around, lying in green pastures, and drinking from still waters. I am comforted by the Good Shepherd’s careful watching. He fights off the wolves and thieves, and he lays his life down for me.
If we look at shepherding in Bible times, we can see that the shepherds were part-time warriors. They carried weapons to use against the wolves and thieves. This wasn’t a job for the weak and afraid. This was dangerous and full of confrontation.
It’s easy to visualize Jesus fighting off the wolves, but what about me? The Bible talks about our responsibility to be shepherds, just like Jesus. We are the shepherds of our church, family, and the next generation.
…He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
We are called to take care of God’s sheep. We are called to not only do the feeding and leading, but also the wolf fighting.
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.
If I am to be a true shepherd, I will need to become a warrior. Jesus talks about the difference between a true Shepherd and a hireling.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
The Good Shepherd doesn’t run away or hide. The Good shepherd doesn’t sacrifice one of the sheep so that the rest can get away. The good shepherd sacrifices his own life, by standing firm and fighting. If a shepherd doesn’t fight off the wolves, then it is a sign to the sheep that the shepherd is a fraud.
Are you willing to fight off the wolves?