(Today’s post by Wayne Bunting)
Chapter 11 of Zechariah is an extreme shifting of gears from the previous two chapters, which were predominantly about promises. Here we find that Zechariah describes the fall of God’s chosen people. This is a coming judgment that includes the destruction of many of the people and the delivery of the remaining people into the hands of the false shepherds that the people preferred instead of the true shepherd. In other words the Jews had sought after false shepherds that served their own perverse purposes instead of following after God. At any rate, this chapter spells out doom for the Jewish people.
Interestingly, many place emphasis on the fact that this verse serves to be not only a reference to the downfall of the Jews, but is more specifically a reference to the downfall of the Jews as it pertains to their rejection of Christ. It also details some of the events surrounding this (Does verse 12’s thirty pieces of silver sound like something familiar?) Matthew has many references to this chapter, such as Matthew 27:3-10. The worthless shepherd of Zechariah 11:17 is also many times interpreted to be the antichrist, who will oppress the Jews at a much later date.
But one thing that we can see for certain in this chapter is that God’s people have a penchant for seeking after their own way and preferences instead of God’s ways. The Bible, especially the Old Testament, is riddled with it. Subsequent to this, one thing that is also constant throughout the Bible is the Lord’s desire to redeem the foolish people who reject Him. The greatest redemption in the Bible is the ultimate redemption of Christ. In this chapter of Zechariah which details the outright rejection by the people of a good shepherd, two things stand out to me: First, God certainly gives people over to their own stupidity (as seen in the people’s rejection of the good shepherd for the foolish shepherd). And second, God relentlessly pursues the world despite its rejection of Him.
Zechariah tells of the rejection of Christ by His own people. And through Christ’s death we know that the whole world now has the opportunity to come to salvation, and to be His people. This is the character of God, to pursue the world despite its rejection of Him. We ought not take advantage of that love. He will always pursue us despite our stupidity, but we have a responsibility to carry out the last commandment that He gave to His disciples: to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We are not to do this so that we can gain justification, since we cannot even bring the kingdom of God without being justified. But we carry out the great commission because we are slaves (bondservants) of Christ. This should mark our lives, and we should seek to bring the kingdom that the God who pursues us relentlessly died for.