March 29, 2010

The Shepherd and the Sheep

Zechariah 13:7-9

“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered …”
Zechariah 13:7


In our journey through the minor prophets we have read many passages that are fulfilled in the New Testament’s account of Christ’s suffering and death. But not many of the verses we’ve read were directly quoted by Jesus. Today’s reading from Zechariah is an exception.

The night before Jesus died, he was with his disciples, and he told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered’” (Matthew 26:31).

Peter, responding brashly, claimed that he would never leave Jesus, even if everyone else did. But the Lord’s prediction would prove accurate. Soon “all the disciples deserted him and fled” (Matthew 26:56).

The good news is that the Shepherd who was struck down is the same Lord who would rise again (Matthew 26:32). When he did, he would gather all the scattered sheep once more. Years later, Peter would express the joy of being brought back into God’s fold when he wrote: “’You were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). Because of Jesus, the words God says at the end of today’s reading are applied directly to us: “I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

“Savior, like a shepherd lead us; much we need your tender care.” Thank you, Lord Jesus, for gathering us in your love and guiding us by your grace. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!