Do you ever wonder where the phrase “being thrown under the bus” comes from? Officially, no one knows. There is a record of the first recorded use of it but you can bet they got it from somewhere else. It generally is not a good meaning. Betrayal, manipulation, and lying seem to surround the term. In my own mind, I think of two kids and a broken window. About half a second before the innocent child explains what happened to cause the other to break it… the guilty party pushes them in front of a bus that happens to be driving by…. And the guilty party is now free to tell their own version of the story.
Children often have two types of caregivers. There is typically the hired kind and those who have bonded with a child by blood or familiarity. The hired help has a limited affection and that limits their willingness to go to great measures in protecting those in their care. The other type is known by the ability to hear a child’s voice from across a crowded store and know when they are in trouble. They also are the ones who lift cars up, defy momentum with their arms to avoid the child going through the window in a crash, and they will take on wild animals to protect those under their care from any harm. The hired help are the more likely consider their own best interests before the child, throwing the child under a bus, so to speak, to protect themselves.
A shepherd and the hired help are put in a similar perspective when we consider that there are those who are answering a calling and those who are performing a job function. John 10: 1-21 finds Jesus defining the care that He has for them opposed to how the religious leaders of the day did. The leaders liked their authority and power. Their authority was challenged, questions posed they could not answer, and their behavior pointed out as sinful. They sought out a bus to throw Jesus under. The people they are charged to care for were lost, abandoned. They cared more for how they looked than the community around them. Jesus was there to save all of His people, not just the Children of Israel. It is no wonder Jesus would refer to those who came to the sound of His voice “sheep without a shepherd”. They came because He was the Shepherd and they knew His voice.
So what does this mean for us? Do we look at the person next to us as disposable or conditionally loved based on their usefulness? Do we fight for each other, especially when one of us is lost or just write them off, blaming them for “wandering off”? Do we know the voice of the Good Shepherd, or are we enamored with the sound of our own? Would we throw Jesus under the bus to avoid being called out on our sin, clear how truly lost we are? Do we only agree with what makes us look better or do we seek out what will make us see better?