Posts Tagged ‘Zechariah 11’

The Price of a Dead Slave

Zechariah 11:1-3 is often understood to be yet another history lesson for us (though it was a future lesson when Zack spoke/wrote it!). 
Some would say it describes the events of 70 AD when Vespasian and Titus came down through Lebanon to destroy Israel and Judah and Jerusalem. These Romans destroyed Jerusalem after the Good Shepherd was crucified. 
(Josephus, who was Jew taken into Vespasian’s family, recorded the whole event in his book called Wars of the Jews commissioned by Vespasian himself.)
But the rest of Zechariah 11 seems to be an allegory (difficult as it may be) that speaks of God fulfilling His promise. In it God speaks to a person yet unnamed (4) and tells him to pasture the flock “marked for slaughter.” They are so marked by their own leaders, who think only of the profit they can gain by selling out their people (4-6).
But when the Good Shepherd comes to care for the flock, and “particularly for the oppressed of the flock,” He is rejected! Though He rids them of false shepherds and seeks to guide them with grace (favor) and unity (union), He is detested by His sheep!
The first thing He does is remove three shepherds. Perhaps “these three shepherds should not be seen as three individuals but as three classes of individuals, namely: the prophets, priests, and kings of Israel.” (Boice) 
The offices of prophet, priest, and king were taken away from Israel after the Roman conquest of Judea and have never been restored – because they are now fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
But the sheep detest these acts, as well as the very Shepherd Himself. For His care for them, the only pay they offer is “thirty pieces of silver.” 
Strikingly, this price is the amount set in Old Testament law as compensation to be paid for a dead slave (Exodus 21:32)! And the price of the Good Shepherd is thrown “into the house of the Lord to the potter” (13).
The Gospels present this passage as a prophecy about Jesus. 
  • He came, announcing Himself as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-18). 
  • But the flock He came to pasture detested Him. 
  • The priests weighed out the price of a dead slave to Jesus’ betrayer (Matthew 26:14-16). 
  • And later, after Jesus’ death, the coins were brought back by a remorseful Judas and thrown into the temple. 
  • The chief priests picked up the coins and “decided to use the money to buy a potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners” (Matthew 27:1-10). 
  • Thus the words of Zechariah found fulfillment in Jesus, as did the similar prophecy of Jeremiah (32:6-9).
With the Good Shepherd slain, the staffs of grace and unity are broken. He is replaced by worthless shepherds (14-17).
And so this chapter ends with the death of the Good Shepherd. But His death is not the end, for evil has not and will not overcome!
Whew Lord Jesus! We do not want to treat Your provisions with such disdain. We rejoice with what You are doing, and what You are yet to do. Help us to join You and be a part of it, rather than criticize and crucify the vision before we even see what it is all about. We do not want to be guilty of doing the very thing the Jews were guilty of when they nailed You to the cross 2,000 years ago…rejecting the provision of Jehovah!

Father, bless the Beyond Ourselves effort as it seems to throb of the very heartbeat of Jesus, just by the mere fact that we are other-focused rather than self-focused. Guide St. Philip’s exactly how they are to reach out to everyone in the Bright Zone, and raise up at least 300 people to be a part of this outreach!

I especially pray for the Harringtons, Harrisons, Goforths, Babbilis, Wintons, Lundes, Brinkmans and Mazrie-Goltehebrah. Lord, may these families be directly contacted and impacted by the Beyond Ourselves campaign and brought into a closer relationship with You! Amen!