The smitten Shepherd
“And Jesus said unto them, All ye shall be offended because of Me this night: for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” – Mark 14:27
On the night Jesus was betrayed He foretells His disciples that they all would be offended at Him and scatter like scared sheep.
We live in a PC world where most everyone is offended if simply looked at. Well this offence that Jesus talked about comes from the word “scandalize,” which means in the Greek to entrap, or stumble into sin. His disciples refused to believe it, but as it would be, that night of Jesus’ arrest they became frightened and they all scattered.
Jesus pulls this prophecy out of Zechariah 13:7 where the very night that He was arrested, persecuted, and eventually crucified God the Father would smite His Son, called the Shepherd, and as a result He would be forsaken. As the prophecy is understood, it was God the Father’s sword of justice that came against His Shepherd, His Son. The hang-up for many is that they say, “God did not do this. God would not abuse His Son.” I agree! God the Father would never mistreat the Son of His love, but what is missing in this humanistic reasoning is that God does not arbitrarily overlook sin. The bible teaches that all sin in essence is against God’s righteous standard (Psalm 51:4), and all sin will be paid (Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23). Secondly, God the Father not only raised His sword of justice against His Son, the Shepherd, but the Son was willing for the Father to do it. Yes, the Son, the Shepherd, was willing to have the penalty of our sins come upon Him.
God gave His Son over to the Jews and Romans for them to do with Him as they willed. As a result they nailed Him to a cross, so while upon the cross God’s justice would be exacted upon His Son. His Son, the Shepherd’s “soul” was an offering for the sins of His sheep (Isaiah 53:10,11). This is the “eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3). God the Father, in love, gave His Son. God the Son, in love, gave His life, and God the Spirit of Love gave the sheep grace to believe and receive that eternal salvation purposed “in Christ.”
So what does all this mean? It means that there was absolutely no cosmic-child-abuse. The good Shepherd, deliberately took the blow of judgment that we deserved because we could not withstand such punishment and live. We would die an eternal death.
The world does not understand that the greatest demonstration of love was that Jesus was born to die, but not for Himself. The innocent Son of God willingly came to die for the sins of His sheep. Jesus clearly taught in John 10:11, “I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”
David C. Hale, pastor