Jesus now contrasts His self-sacrificing love with the hirelings’ self-interest.
Hirelings run from wolves
A hireling was a hired hand who would watch the sheep for the shepherd. The sheep did not belong to him, and consequently he did not care for their well being. He was only interested in a paycheck. If a wolf came, the hireling would leave the sheep and run out of self-interest. Jesus here is addressing the Jews who refused to stand up to the Pharisees because they did not want to be excommunicated themselves. These people were hirelings, including the man’s own parents.
The sheep suffer because of hirelings
When the hireling leaves the sheep the wolves have free access to the sheep. They bite, kill, and scatter the sheep. When the shepherd returns he will find that many of his sheep are dead, many are wounded, and the rest have been scattered in all directions. The shepherd also returns to a sheepfold that is filled with wolves. Jesus is clearly pointing that this man is the one who had been bitten and scattered because the Jews in the Synagogue would not stand up to the wolves.
In our own day churches have been destroyed by hirelings. The wolves have come into the church, and the hirelings have refused to stand up to them. As a result the true sheep suffer. They are scattered abroad, and the churches have become full of wolves.
Hirelings do not love the sheep
Hirelings are only in it for themselves. They have no concern or care for the sheep. This is why they will not fight the wolves. Jesus is crystal clear. The Jews that have not stood up to the Pharisees do not love this man. They are not willing to suffer for his good.
Our churches are filled with people who do not love Jesus and do not love His people. If they loved Him they would stand against the wolves and protect the sheep. They would be willing to suffer, be ridiculed, be imprisoned, and die for the good of the sheep.
Will you stand for Jesus Christ and His Church?