Zechariah 11 … Consider Him, The Worthy Shepherd

“Woe to the worthless shepherd
Who leaves the flock!
A sword will be on his arm
And on his right eye!
His arm will be totally withered
And his right eye will be blind,”
(11:17).

A pronouncement of woes has been declared against the shepherds who had been assigned to tend God’s flock, but instead had chosen to line their own pockets at the expense of the helpless. But their power (arm) and their understanding (eye) would wither as the fire of His judgment would surely consume every bit of their pride and strength.

Open your doors, O Lebanon,
That a fire may feed on your cedars.

Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen,
Because the glorious trees have been destroyed;
Wail, O oaks of Bashan,
For the impenetrable forest has come down.
There is a sound of the shepherds’ wail,
For their glory is ruined;
There is a sound of the young lions’ roar,
For the pride of the Jordan is ruined,
(11:1-2).

Most scholars agree this passage recording God’s command to Zechariah to pasture the flock doomed to slaughter, was a prophetic revelation of the promised Messiah Who would come as the Worthy Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Thus says the Lord my God, “Pasture the flock doomed to slaughter. Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished, and each of those who sell them says, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I have become rich!’ And their own shepherds have no pity on them, (11:4-5).

“This command seems to be addressed to Zechariah… as he typified Christ; and so God commanded to do that which he had appointed Christ to do, namely, to gather and feed the lost sheep of Israel, which their shepherds scattered and destroyed.” Benson Commentary

And while many were in fact doomed to slaughter, depicting God’s judgment coming upon His people who had refused His grace and rejected His promised Messiah, there would be a remnant who would discern the Word of the Lord.

I took my staff Favor and cut it in pieces, to break my covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was broken on that day, and thus the afflicted of the flock who were watching me realized that it was the word of the Lord, (11:10-11).

But still there would be those who so disregarded and so disrespected the Word of the Lord that Zechariah would enact the prophecy of the people’s scorn against the Promised Messiah, The Worthy Shepherd, Who would be betrayed and sold for the paltry price of a slave.

I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. 13 Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord, (11:12-13).

Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him…
Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers,
 (Matthew 26:14-15; 27:3-7).

Oh, the amazing prophecies of God, fulfilled in Christ Jesus, the Messiah. And while Zechariah prophesied of what the flock would experience at the destructive and corrupt hands of the worthless shepherds, and while the charges against those who had abused their responsibilities were rightfully leveled, we will be reminded of the One Who would be sent to pasture His flock according to the Will of the Father; Jesus, The Worthy Shepherd.

Consider Him, The Worthy Shepherd

While the worthless shepherds would make themselves rich at the expense of their sheep…

Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished, and each of those who sell them says, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I have become rich!’ And their own shepherds have no pity on them. (11:5).

…The Worthy Shepherd would become poor that we might become rich.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich, (2 Corinthians 8:9).


While the worthless shepherds would be unable to protect their sheep…

For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the land,” declares the Lord; “but behold, I will cause the men to fall, each into another’s power and into the power of his king; and they will strike the land, and I will not deliver them from their power.” (11:6).

..The Worthy Shepherd would deliver us from the wrath of God that our sin deserves.

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him, (Romans 5:9).


While the worthless shepherds would break their covenant…

I took my staff Favor and cut it in pieces, to break my covenant which I had made with all the peoples, (11:10).

…The Worthy Shepherd would forever hold the covenant of His Favor in His hand.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one,” (John 10:27-30).


While the worthless shepherds would bring division…

 Then I cut in pieces my second staff Union, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel, (11:14).

…The Worthy Shepherd would build up His people in His Unity.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ, (Ephesians 4:11-13).


While the worthless shepherds would walk in the way of the fool…

The Lord said to me, “Take again for yourself the equipment of a foolish shepherd. (11:15).

…The Worthy Shepherd would walk in the Will of His Father.

“What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? 13 If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish,” (Matthew 18:12-14).


While the worthless shepherds would neglect their flock…

 For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs. (11:16).

…The Worthy Shepherd would come to care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, and sustain all those who belong to Him.

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,”
 (Luke 4:16-21).

How do we respond to Him, The Worthy Shepherd?

He is The Worthy Shepherd, but there would be the flock that was doomed to slaughter. And that reality can be difficult to process.

Thus says the Lord my God, “Pasture the flock doomed to slaughter,” (11:3).

But Scripture is clear; and the reality is, all of us are doomed to slaughter.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23).

And Scripture is also clear; all who believe in Christ, The Worthy Shepherd, will be gathered into His flock to receive God’s free gift of eternal life.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 6:23).

Today, should bring us to self-examination. Do we have any doubt that we are counted as one of His sheep? For the day is coming when The Worthy Shepherd will return in all His Glory to sit on His Glorious Throne in judgment. And then it will be too late for those who have rejected Him as Messiah.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left,” (Matthew 25:30-33).

He has given us His Word to give us the assurance that when we believe in His Name, we belong to Him, The Worthy Shepherd, that we would know we have eternal life.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life, (1 John 5:13).

And Jesus said when we belong to Him through faith that He know us! And when we are known by Him, we will hear the voice of The Worthy Shepherd in such a way that causes us to follow Him.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” (John 10:27).

Oh, that we would follow Him, The Worthy Shepherd, Who followed the will of His Father.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner,” (John 5:19).

He followed the will of His Father so that we would become rich; be delivered from God’s wrath; be forever held in His hand by His covenant of grace; be built up in unity in the body; and be lovingly cared for, sought out, healed and sustained. Oh, that we would truly come to know that when we follow Him, the Worthy Shepherd, we will not be in want of any good thing.

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want, (Psalm 23:1).

And let us also pray that a trail of goodness and lovingkindness will follow us wherever He leads, because we are following Him, The Worthy Shepherd.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever, (Psalm 23:6).

Let’s Grow Together!

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