The difference between good and bad shepherds

Dec 22 2020

The “good shepherd” is an important leadership image from Jesus’ experience. Jesus referred to the metaphor during the Feast of Dedication when the nation celebrated political independence.

The national significance of the shepherd image originates from the Hebrew Scripture in the writings of the prophet Ezekiel, among others.

Ezekiel described how bad shepherds feed themselves and ignore the needs of the sheep. They fleece their followers for wool, and kill them for meat. Strays are abandoned (Ezek 34:1-6).

At the Feast of Dedication, Jesus suggested that he stood (right there in the temple courts) as the antithesis of Ezekiel’s scathing metaphor. Jesus was the “good shepherd” (John 10:14).

One can imagine the reaction of the religious authorities. They wanted to finish what they had started at the Feast of Huts, but once again, Jesus retreats.

In the previous posts, we looked at Jerusalem’s resilient leaders and the preservation they achieved for their nation. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were part of that tradition.

So was Jesus trying to pick a fight with people in power?

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