Last Sunday there was a discussion about Yeshua’s parable of the Hired Hand. One of the group point out that in the Word there are examples of people who love as much as the Shepherd. But the main point of the parable was missed – and I believe it is a vital point.
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” – John 10:11-18
During the discussion we noted that Yeshua was talking to religious leaders – and the point was that He, the Good Shepherd – would lay down his life for the sheep. But the leaders, who were only hired hands, would not.
I pointed out that I heard two different pastors talk about loving the flock. And they really did love the flock, to the point that they would lay down their life, but they would not sacrifice the life of their son for the sake of the flock. In other words, there is a limit to what they were willing to do for the sheep.
What I tried to point out is that in his parable, Yeshua was saying that no person’s love and concern for the sheep compares to God’s love and concern. Too often, when we are trying to justify that we are followers of Messiah, we don’t want to be associated with bad religious leaders, or anyone that did not please Yeshua.
But sometimes, we have to admit our own limitations rather than try to justify ourselves.
I realize in hindsight that I should have used the reality of myself as a mother. I love my kids, and though I’ve never had to face the choice, I would likely lay down my life for them. But even a mother’s love does not compare to God’s perfect love. Compared to God, I am nothing more than a hired hand. And that is the key – compared to God.
That is what Yeshua was pointing out. He is God, and no one loves his sheep like he does. No, not one.
Yeshua did lay down his life for his sheep, and even though Peter said he would too, in the end, he denied Yeshua. I can only imagine that Peter thought back on the words of his Rav after his death and the resurrection realizing they had new meaning.
That would certainly be a mind blower.