Rejection of the Good ShepherdZechariah 11:1-17Theme: Unbelief.This week’s lessons remind us of the danger of denying the Savior. LessonIn the last section (vv. 15-17) the prophet is given a second symbolic commission. Just as he had been told to represent the true shepherd in verses 7-14, so now is he to represent a false or wicked shepherd. The character of this man is described both negatively and positively. Negatively: “I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy.” (The Lord Jesus Christ had done precisely that. The words are a description of his ministry.) Positively: “…but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hoofs.” (This shepherd uses the sheep selfishly for his benefit. Jesus gave himself for the sheep.)
Who is this shepherd? Again, there have been many interpretations. For the most part, Jewish commentators see him as Herod. Christian commentators are often quite general, assigning the image to all evil rulers collectively. Some refer this to the Roman emperors, noting that in their rejection of Jesus at his trial the leaders of Israel shouted out, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). This last suggestion is quite plausible, for in rejecting their true Shepherd-King, the people obtained a king who would eventually destroy both their city and nation. Zechariah tells us what will happen to this satanic figure: “The sword [will] strike his arm and his right eye.” That is, he will be judged in the very areas – his superhuman strength and insight – in which he takes most pride.
This grim chapter of the otherwise uplifting Book of Zechariah is a sobering look at the results of unbelief, particularly unbelief that leads to the rejection of Jesus Christ as one’s personal Lord and Savior. Still it has been blessed to many by causing them to reject that rejection and follow the Good Shepherd. Study Questions
How does the second symbolic commission describe the shepherd both positively and negatively?
Explain the different interpretations of the shepherd.
ApplicationAre you prideful? Humbly acknowledge that you are worthless without Christ.
PrayerPray for those who have not accepted God’s gift of salvation – that they might know Him soon.