Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Wolf

"The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away -- and the wolf snatches them and scatters them" (John 10:12).

Set against the good shepherd and the sheep are the hired hand and the wolf. The shepherd and sheep are good and innocent, while the same cannot be said for the hired hand or the wolf to whom the hired hand exposes the flock.

As the antagonist of the sheep, the wolf imagery suggests violence and rapaciousness. Wolves are predators. Friberg refers to the wolf "as a fierce beast of prey..." When used metaphorically, he says it refers to "a person with dangerous pretenses, such as a false prophet, false teacher, or false leader vicious person, fierce person."

Are we taking care to protect our people from such "wolves?" Are we educating them to discern for themselves between good and bad teaching, between fads and eternal truths? What about our own hearts? Are we feeding off our sheep or feeding them God's Word and the sacraments? Don't we need to guard our own hearts to be sure we don't have some wolf in us?

wolf picture


  1. This reminds me of Paul's warning to the elders in Ephesus (Acts 20:29-30). He warned of two kinds of wolves. The first, outsiders that come in and tear apart the flock. The second kind are sheep who become wolves. These are far more dangerous,as they still look and sound like sheep. They know all the right things to say to get past our defenses.

  2. Thanks for your insight Dave. I look forward to seeing you and Willow at Christian's wedding next month. Blessings.

  3. Ivy
    this is great stuff. I was wondering if I could have your permission to use the wolf image in a sermon


    john aka unlikely

  4. Not a problem John. You are welcome to use anything.

    God's peace.

  5. Ivy - wow - just started a series on this. let me ask you, why is it that the "leaders" shy away from pointing and crying "Wolf!!!!!" It seems everyone just wants to "make nice" leaving the sheep unattended and unprotected...
    Sr. Sheepdog

  6. I'm not sure, Sr. Sheepdog, but that's a good question. I think we all subconsciously like to hear, "Nice sermon." Now that I'm on internship, I'm preaching more. And I have to admit, it feels good when people like the message. It's great if the message is the Word of the Lord, the prophetic word to the people. I think we are called to preach and teach prophetically whether people like it or not though.