Wednesday, 24 December 2014

ARE YOU A GOOD SHEPHERD OR A HIRED HAND? (11)

TEXT: EZEKIEL 34:1-10
 The word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?  You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.  So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them. “‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:  As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock,  therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:  This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.
In the first part of this message, we read about Jesus as the good shepherd, we defined the meaning of the good shepherd both literarily and scripturally. We also mentioned the characteristics of a good shepherd and a hired hand.
Today, we will continue by looking at the in-depth meaning of what Jesus said in John 10:11 that “I am the good shepherd... this statement shows that there are bad shepherds if Jesus can qualify himself as the good shepherd. The adjective “good” in Jesus’ statement made it known to us that shepherds are of different categories.
Our text above listed the attributes of the bad shepherds:
·        They only take care of themselves. They only cares for their immediate family, they live in the best houses, ride the best cars, wear the best clothes while the members of their congregations are wallowing in lack.
·        They feed themselves and not the flock (selfishness)
·        They did not heal the sick or the injured, no encouragement for the broken hearted (wickedness)
·        Clothe themselves, and eat choice food without meeting the needs of their flock (greed)
·        They did not seek the lost or scattered (lack of compassion)
·        They dominate the flock with force and severity (autocratic leaders)

Jesus as the good shepherd did not manifest any of the attributes listed above. Instead he lived a selfless life, he healed the sick, and bound the broken hearted, and minister to the needs of everybody that came in contact with him.  He looked for the scattered Sheep and brought them back to God. Above all, he laid his life down for his Sheep!
What will be the judgement of the wicked and bad shepherd? The answer is in verse 10 “this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I WILL REMOVE THEM FROM TENDING THE FLOCK SO THAT THE SHEPHERDS CAN NO LONGER FEED THEMSELVES. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.”
Now as a shepherd you know if you are a good shepherd, bad shepherd, or hired hands. Make necessary adjustments if you need to, may we not be held accountable for wrong doings in Jesus name. Amen.

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