October 03, 2011
Smite the Shepherd
“All shall be offended because of Me this night; for it is written,
“I will smite the Shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered.”
Why did the Lord Jesus quote this verse from Zechariah? One possible reason is that it gives us an insight into the sufferings of His soul at Calvary. It was not the smiting from men which is stressed here, but the smiting from the hand of God. It was an omnipotent hand which raised and wielded the sword. It would descend in all its power upon the Shepherd on the cross.
It was the hand of Jehovah, a hand of unerring accuracy which smote the Shepherd. It was a hand which could penetrate far deeper than any blow from men. All of that combined shows us that His suffering was infinite because it was inflicted by an infinite power.
It shows us as well that Christ was nothing less than absolute deity. In the original citation in Zechariah, the sword awoke “against the man that is My Fellow” (Zech 13:7), or God’s equal.
All of these reasons are valid and valuable to trace. But the context suggests an additional and perhaps primary reason which should bow our hearts in worship and adoration.
Imagine One about to endure the cross, facing the dark reality of Calvary, and about to endure all the fury of man and Satan, and ask yourself this question: Of whom is He thinking when He says, “All ye shall be offended … smite the Shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered?” He was not thinking of Himself. He did not utter the words to evoke sympathy from the listeners. He did not tell them of the tremendous stroke He was about to endure in hopes they would understand and encourage or empathize. He spoke to forewarn them of what they were about to experience. He spoke because of His deep concern for them and their scattering!
Here was the only selfless Man Who ever lived. He never thought of Himself; never sought sympathy from men or their pity. He thought of others throughout His life, as He approached the cross, and even on the cross. How unique; how beautiful!
1. Peter tells us, “By whose stripe (singular) ye were healed” (1 Pet 2:24). Can you link the stroke from the sword of Jehovah with the stripe or wail mark to which Peter refers?
2. The verse which follows (Mk 14:28) tells us that one reason for the resurrection was the regathering of the scattered sheep. Trace how the Lord Jesus Christ, in His resurrection appearances, was regathering those who were moving away from Jerusalem. He is still regathering in His ministry now.
3. Can you think of other occasions when quotations from the Old Testament and expressions from the lips of Christ show His selflessness? What about Luke 22:37; 23:28, 31; John 13:18?