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Zechariah 13:7 & meaning...


sword, against my shepherd, and against the man who is close to me,” says Yahweh of Armies.

Zechariah 13:7


One will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’

Zechariah 13 [7.] “Awake, sword, against my shepherd,

    and against the man who is close to me,” says Yahweh of Armies.

“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered;

    and I will turn my hand against the little ones.

It shall happen that in all the land,” says Yahweh,

    “two parts in it will be cut off and die;

    but the third will be left in it.

I will bring the third part into the fire,

    and will refine them as silver is refined,

    and will test them like gold is tested.

They will call on my name, and I will hear them.

    I will say, ‘It is my people;’

    and they will say, ‘Yahweh is my God.’”


This verse speaks to us on multiple levels, from the immediate historical context to the profound messianic prophecy it conveys. To truly grasp its significance, we need to delve into these layers and explore the connections to other parts of Scripture that illuminate its full meaning.

Firstly, let's look at the historical context. Zechariah was a prophet during a critical time in Israel's history, post-exile, when the Jewish people were returning from Babylonian captivity. His messages were aimed at both encouraging the rebuilding of the temple and providing hope for a future restored kingdom under God's reign. This particular verse, however, seems to transcend its immediate context and speaks to a more profound divine plan.

The phrase "Awake, sword, against my shepherd" indicates an active call from God for an action that appears paradoxical: striking the shepherd, who is usually a figure of protection and care for the flock. This shepherd, as described here, is not just any shepherd but one who is "close to me," signifying a special, intimate relationship with God. This shepherd is commonly understood to represent Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.

This verse is famously quoted in the New Testament. In Matthew 26:31, Jesus directly references it during the Last Supper, saying, "Then Jesus said to them, 'All of you will be made to stumble because of me this night, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’" Here, Jesus clearly identifies Himself as the shepherd and His disciples as the sheep who will scatter. This fulfillment of prophecy is seen in the events following Jesus' arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, where His disciples fled in fear and confusion.

Understanding this prophecy's fulfillment in the New Testament adds a layer of depth to our comprehension of God's salvation plan. It reveals that Jesus' suffering and the temporary scattering of His followers were not random events but were foretold and orchestrated within God's redemptive narrative. This prophecy underscores the sacrificial nature of Jesus' mission. The shepherd must be struck, symbolizing Jesus' crucifixion, to ultimately gather and redeem the flock.

In the latter part of the verse, "and I will turn my hand against the little ones," we see a shift towards the consequences for the followers. The scattering of the sheep represents the temporary abandonment felt by Jesus' disciples. Yet, it's crucial to recognize that this scattering was not the end but a necessary part of the journey towards their eventual regathering and empowerment through the Holy Spirit, as seen in Acts 2 during Pentecost.

Cross-referencing other Scriptures can further enrich our understanding. Isaiah 53:5 states, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." This verse aligns with the idea of the shepherd being struck for the sake of the sheep, highlighting the sacrificial and redemptive suffering of Christ.

Similarly, in John 10:11, Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." This declaration by Jesus confirms His role as the shepherd mentioned in Zechariah 13:7 and emphasizes the voluntary nature of His sacrifice.

What does this mean for us today? Reflecting on Zechariah 13:7 invites us to appreciate the intentionality behind Jesus' path to the cross. It wasn't a series of unfortunate events but a fulfillment of divine prophecy, emphasizing the profound love and sacrifice of Christ for humanity. It also reassures us that moments of scattering or confusion in our lives are not beyond God's sovereign plan. Just as the disciples were scattered and then regathered, our times of trial can lead to renewal and greater purpose through God's guidance.

Furthermore, this verse challenges us to trust in God's overarching plan even when it involves suffering or apparent loss. The striking of the shepherd led to the ultimate victory over sin and death. Similarly, our struggles, when surrendered to God's will, can lead to profound spiritual growth and fulfillment of His purposes in our lives.

In summary, Zechariah 13:7 is a powerful prophecy that foretells the striking of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and the subsequent scattering of His followers. It reflects the sacrificial nature of Christ's mission and reassures us of God's sovereign plan through moments of trial. As we reflect on this verse, we are invited to deepen our trust in God's redemptive work in our lives, knowing that He brings renewal and purpose from every situation.

PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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