12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
Jesus contrasts himself, the Good Shepherd, with others who do the work of caring for the sheep. He doesn’t specify who these hired ones are, but they surely are everyone but Jesus. In Ezekiel 34 God harshly condemns the shepherds of Israel for their failures. He doesn’t tell them to do better but promises to care for the people himself, ultimately through a descendent of David. It is a promise which has its fulfillment in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
The others abandon the sheep when danger comes. Jesus steps forward and lays down his life for them. This love of Jesus for us is difficult to comprehend because every example we see in this world resembles the hired workers. Jesus emphasis for us here is that his love and care for us is well beyond anything we can imagine from the experience of life. We can leave our lives in his hands and know that we are safe and secure for eternity.
Be assured of your salvation in Jesus Christ because he is utterly trustworthy because he is overwhelmingly loving to you.