Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"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?