Jesus didn’t go into his darkest time unaware of His Father’s will. He had studied the Old Testament. He knew the prophecies of the Messiah, of himself. He had read Zechariah’s prophecy many times and quotes it here as they walk to the garden of Gethsemane.
“Then Jesus 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.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Matthew 26 v 31-32)
The striking of the shepherd in Zechariah 13 is used by Jesus as he is only hours away from the cross.
How does this encourage us?
Jesus knows the striking sits within the plan of God. “I will strike …” Though handed over to men Jesus is in his Father’s hands. No matter how dark your day is knowing God has still created that day gives it purpose even if it is painful. The fact Jesus remained true throughout the striking meant the purpose of God was fulfilled.
Jesus knows that his disciples will desert him. Not every shepherd on being struck manages to hold on to the purpose of God for their life. Struck by trial, temptation some don’t survive. Whether the shepherd survives or not the sheep always scatter. I read an article yesterday which tried to answer the realisation that ‘they’re not coming back’ speaking of church attenders post-pandemic and the decline of numbers in church buildings on Sundays. You may know of people today who have scattered because of the falling of a shepherd or indeed of the church. We must believe they will return. Zechariah within his prophecy says they will.
Jesus never speaks of being struck without also referring to the resurrection. He tells them he will go ahead and presumably wait for them in Galilee, the place of ministry, the Galilee of the Gentiles. Today some may not have returned, they may have still fled, but Jesus is waiting for them, he has a plan for their lives.
Have you been struck today? Are you running away? He is alive and waiting for you.
Are you the shepherd who has been struck? Look to God. The striking is in His purpose for your life. Good will come from this if only you hold onto Him.