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Zechariah and the Stricken Shepherd


The Stricken Shepherd

Text: Zechariah 13:7-9

As is common with the OT prophets, Zechariah sums up his previous teaching in a conclusion, and, of course, since the previous sections of the prophesy were concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, so will this conclusion be also!

1. The Stricken Shepherd! V7

Now we know that verse 13 is about the Lord Jesus, because He tells us so Himself.  In Matthew 26:31-32:    Jesus is about to go to the cross, and the Passover has just been kept, and the Lord’s Supper has been instituted.  He was singing a psalm from Psalms 113-118.  See what the prophet says about Christ and the scattering of His Sheep:-

  • The weapon that is used against God’s shepherd! Awake, O sword, against my shepherd  It tells us that the weapon that is used is a sword.  The use of the word sword is symbolic here.  In fact the symbolic nature of the sword is very clear from the text, for God addresses the sword, speaks to it!  It is a personification of something.  In the ancient near east, a SWORD was the symbol OF MAGISTERIAL AUTHORITY cf Romans 13.    So the sword is a symbol of JUSTICE BEING EXECUTED.  Now, when Jesus was stricken at the cross, the fatal blow that landed upon God’s Son was dealt by God Himself!  He was punished – not for His own sins, but for the sins of those who would come to Him and be saved through His atoning death!   
  • The wonder of God’s Shepherd! against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts Now there is a unique description of the Shepherd here.  God tells us that the Shepherd is the man who is my fellow!  The Shepherd who will be so stricken for His flock:-
    • Is a MAN!  Now this is very important and significant.  Jesus is fully man.   He was hungry, Matt 4:2, Slept, Matt 8:24, was Sorrowful, Matt 26:37, he grew up in the normal way, Luke 2:40, he had a man’s flesh and bones, Matt 24:39, he was troubled, John 12:27.  He was everything that a man is, except that He was without sin.  He was the perfect man!     Hebrews 4   This is important because as a man He died our death!  But there is something else that the verse tells us, the shepherd:-
    • Is God’s Fellow!   The shepherd is the one who was equal with God, side by side with God! He is A BROTHER!  This is exactly what Jesus meant when He spoke of being equal with the Father! John 10:30   So, here we have another fact about the shepherd.  He is equal with God   Now these are truly marvellous facts about Christ our shepherd.  He is not half God, and half man, nor is he at some times human and at some times divine, he is at all times, simultaneously, fully God and fully man!   
  • The wounding of God’s Shepherd!   smite the shepherd.  Here is another descriptive aspect of the Shepherd.  He is a stricken shepherd.    Isaiah 53:10  It was God Himself, who placed His own Son on the Cross for sinners!  He was delivered up in accordance with the definite plan of God, although it was men who did the deed, and men who are culpable for Christ’s death, it was us who pierced Him, but it could never have happened if God had not decreed that it would happen thus.  Peter clarifies this for us in his sermon on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:23   

So, Zechariah depicts God’s eternal decree, addressing the sword of justice which should have fallen upon us for our rebellion and sin, and ordering that judicial instrument to strike a mortal blow upon His only Son, the perfect man, the Son of God, God’s associate, so that those sinners may live!  Look briefly at the immediate effect of Christ’s death upon His disciples:-


2. The Scattered Sheep!  V8 and the sheep shall be scattered: 

Now, there are three ways that this scattering has occurred:-

  • The disciples were scattered! and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.  When Christ died, the immediate effect upon the disciples was devastating!  They were surely scattered!  Peter denied the Lord, and wept bitterly for having done so! 
  • The Jews were scattered! And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die.  This is so in a literal, practical way.  But there was a spiritual aspect to this as well.  Paul tells us that the promises that were original promises given to Abraham, and inherited by the Jews are now the portion of all of those who are God’s people in Christ!
  • All God’s true people are scattered, but preserved! but the third shall be left therein.  The remnant of God’s people remains!  And are kept safe in his hands until the day when He will bring them to Glory!  But look at their experience here on earth…


3. The Silver Saints!

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.  This remnant of true believers, redeemed by Christ, and purchased by His shed blood on the Cross, will come through fire!  They will be refined as silver!  They will be tested as gold and proved!    So, the remnant will come through great tribulation and be purified by that experience.  They will be part of that group of believers who in heaven are clothed in white robes and washed in the Lamb’s blood.  Rev. 7:14  Now, notice that the whole of the Remnant will be tested and tried!  You will hear some preachers talking of ‘THE Great Tribulation’ as if it were a specific time in the future.  The Bible never uses the definite article to indicate such a time.  All Christians must expect great tribulation!  We find that hard to accept in our modern western easy lifestyle, but there are countries in this world where to be a Christian costs dearly!  There may come a day when it will cost dearly here also!

And see the point of all this testing and trying and purifying!  It is so that the people of God will come to a point where they will give praise and glory to God in their lives!  See the covenant formula once again here, as the great overarching theme of the whole Bible.  I will say, “It is my people,” and they shall say, “The Lord is my God.”

© BobMcEvoy – September 2019

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