Thieves and Robbers

All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  John 10:8


Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, the ones accusing him of heresy because he claimed to be God.  The Pharisees saw themselves as true spiritual leaders, elevated to be judges of spiritual truth.  It’s unsettling to realize that thieves and robbers have always been in the church.  According to Jesus, they are self-deceived leaders.
But, it is reassuring to see that Jesus says the sheep are never really comfortable following them.  In their hearts they know the truth.  It may take some time, but eventually God’s sheep will know they’re being robbed.  Self-proclaimed shepherds always steal something precious from our faith, leaving any who try to follow them and Jesus at the same time in great conflict.
  • False shepherds steal our peace.  They set up impossible spiritual standards for us to meet, causing us to live in torment, never feeing we measure up.
  • False shepherds steal our childlike trust.  How can we trust a God whom, we’re told, is never pleased with us?  We become like anxious children who know that when they round the corner into their parents’ room, they’ll probably experience disapproval.
  • False shepherds steal our affection.  How can we love a God with a cross face?  Because they misrepresent God as the unreasonable Father, we miss the joy of knowing we are dearly loved children.  We miss throwing our arms out in abandon, proclaiming our affections, knowing we will be joyfully received.  No refusals.

If we can’t run home today with joy, or even limp home with high levels of confidence, chances are we’ve been robbed blind.  Discover what’s missing. Then start looking in places where peace, trust, and affection should abide. False shepherds are rarely peaceful, humble, and gracious.

Show me where I am an easy target for a fast-talking robber.  Amen

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