Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd - This is generally understood of Jesus Christ. The sword is that of Divine justice which seemed to have been long asleep, and should long ago have struck either Man, or his Substitute, the Messiah. Jesus is here called God's Shepherd, because he had appointed him to feed and govern, as well as to save, the whole lost world. This is a prosopopoeia, and the address to the sword is very poetic. There is a fine passage in Aeschylus to the same effect: -
Ξενος δε κληροις επινωμᾳ,<-144 Χαλυβος Σκυθων αποικας,Κτεανων χρηματοδαιταςΠικρος, ωμοφρων σιδαρος,Χθονα ναιειν διαπηλαςὉποσαν αν και φθιμενοισι κατεχειν,Των μεγαλων πεδιων αμοιροιςπ,
Aeschyl. Sept. cont. Hebrews 733.
"The rude barbarian, from the mines
Of Scythia, o'er the lots presides;
Ruthless to each his share assigns,
And the contested realm divides:
To each allots no wider a domain
Than, on the cold earth as they lie,
Their breathless bodies occupy,
Regardless of an ampler reign:
Such narrow compass does the sword -
A cruel umpire - their high claims afford."
The man that is my Fellow - עמיתי גבר ועל veal geber amithi, "upon the strong man," or "the hero that is with Me;" my neighbor. "The Word was God, and the Word was With God;" John 1:1. "I and my Father are One;" John 10:30.
Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered - This is quoted by our Lord, Matthew 26:31, in relation to his disciples, who should be scattered on his crucifixion: and they were so; for every one, giving up all for lost, went to his own house.
And I will turn mine hand upon the little ones - I will take care of the little flock, and preserve them from Jewish malice and Gentile persecution. And so this little flock was most wondrously preserved, and has been increasing from year to year from that time to the present day.
Awake, O sword - So Jeremiah apostrophises the sword, “O thou sword of the Lord, when wilt thou be quiet?” Jeremiah 47:6. The prophets express what “will be,” by a command that it should be; “Make the heart of this people heavy” Isaiah 6:10. But by this command he signifies that human malice, acting freely, could do no more than His “Hand and” His “counsel determined before to be done” Acts 4:28. The envy and hatred of Satan, the blind fury of the chief priests, the contempt of Herod, the guilty cowardice of Pilate, freely accomplished that Death, which God had before decreed for the salvation of the world. The meaning then is, (Ribera), “the sword shall be aroused against My Shepherd, that is, I will allow Him to be smitten by the Jews. But by ‹the sword‘ he designates death, persecution, wounding etc. as above, the ‹sword upon his right arm‘ Zechariah 11:17, and, where the passion of Christ is spoken of, ‹Deliver my soul from the sword‘ Psalm 22:20. So also, ‹All the sinners of the people shall die by the sword‘ Amos 9:10,” (Jerome), “which cannot be taken literally; for many sinners perish by shipwreck, poison, drowning, fire.” Amos then “so spake, because many died by war, yet not all by the sword, but others by pestilence and famine, all which he includes under ‹the sword‘ Amos 9:10. This smiting began, when the Lord was taken, and His sheep began to be scattered; but the prophecy which, before, was being gradually fulfilled, was fully fulfilled in His death, and the apostles were dispersed till the day of the Resurrection at eventide.”
Against the Man, My Fellow - that is, One united by community of nature. A little before, God had spoken of Himself as priced at “the thirty pieces of silver,” yet as breaking the covenant which He had made with all nations for His people; as “pierced through, yet as pouring the spirit of grace and supplication” on those who pierced Him, that they should mourn their deed, and as, thereon, ever cleansing them from sin. As Man, God was sold, was pierced.: “God, in flesh, not working with aught intervening as in the prophets, but having taken to Him a Manhood connatural with Himself and made one, and through His flesh akin to us, drawing up to Him all humanity. What was the manner of the Godhead in flesh? As fire in iron, not transitively but by communication. For the fire does not dart into the iron, but remains there and communicates to it of its own virtue, not impaired by the communication, yet filling wholly its recipient.”
The bold language of the Fathers only expressed the actuality of the Incarnation. Since the Manhood was taken into God, and in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and God and Man were one Christ. then was it all true language. His Body was “the Body of God”; His flesh “the flesh of the Word”; and it was lawful to speak of “the flesh of the Deity”, of “the Passion of the Word”, “the Passion of Christ, my God”, “the Passion of God”, “God dead and buried”, “God suffered”, “murderers of God”, “the Godhead dwelt in the flesh bodily, which is all one with saying that, being God, He had a proper body, and using this as an instrument, He became Man for our sakes, and, because of this, things proper to the flesh are said to be His, since He was in it, as hunger, thirst, suffering, fatigue and the like, of which the flesh is capable, while the works proper to the Word Himself as raising the dead and restoring the blind, He did through His own Body,” is but a continuance of the language of Zechariah, since He who was sold, was priced, was Almighty God. Jesus being God and Man, the sufferings of His Humanity were the sufferings of God, although, as God, He could not suffer.
Now, conversely, God speaks of the Shepherd who was slain, as “My Fellow,” united in Nature with Himself, although not the Manhood of Jesus which suffered, but the Godhead, united with It in one Person, was Consubstantial with Himself. The name might perhaps be most nearly represented by “connatural.”: “When then the title is employed of the relation of an individual to God, it is clear that that individual can be no mere man, Jut must be one, united with God by unity of Being. The Akin of the Lord is no, other than He who said in the Gospel “I and My Father are One” John 10:30, and who is designated as “the Only-Begotten Son, who is in the Bosom of the Father” John 1:18. The word, it seems, was especially chosen, as being used in the Pentateuch, only in the laws against injuring a fellow-man. The prophet thereby gives prominence to the seeming contradiction between the command of the Lord, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,” and those Of His own law, whereby no one is to injure his fellow.
He thus points out the greatness of that end, for the sake of which the Lord regards not that relation, whose image among men He commanded to be kept holy. He speaks after the manner of people. He calls attention to the greatness of that sacrifice, whereby He “spared not His own Son, but freely gave Him up for us all” Romans 8:32. The word ‹Man‘ forms a sort of contrast with “My Fellow.” He whom the sword is to reach must unite the Human Nature with the divine.” Jews too have seen that the words, “My Fellow,” imply an equality with God; only since they own not Him, who was God and Man, they must interpret it of a false claim on the part of man, overlooking that it is given Him by God.
And I will turn My hand o upon the little ones - Doing to them as He had done to the Shepherd. So our Lord forewarned them: “If they have persecuted Me they will also persecute you” John 15:20: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me, before it hated you” John 15:18: “Ye shall be hated of all men for My name‘s sake” Matthew 10:22; Luke 21:17: “they will deliver you up to the councils and scourge you in the synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My name‘s sake” (Matthew 10:17-18; add Luke 21:12): “they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all men for My name‘s sake” Matthew 24:9; and to the Scribes and Pharisees, “I send unto you prophets and wise men and scribes, and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth” Matthew 23:34-35.
The little ones - As Jeremiah speaks of “the least of the flock” Jeremiah 49:20, and the Lord said, “fear not, little flock” Luke 12:32, little and weak in itself but mighty in Him and in His grace. Three centuries of persecution, alike in the Roman empire and beyond it in Persia, fulfilled the prophet‘s words and deepened the foundation of the Church and cemented its fabric.
Through all our trials we have a never-failing Helper. He does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation, to battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow. Though now He is hidden from mortal sight, the ear of faith can hear His voice saying, Fear not; I am with you. “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.” Revelation 1:18. I have endured your sorrows, experienced your struggles, encountered your temptations. I know your tears; I also have wept. The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know. Think not that you are desolate and forsaken. Though your pain touch no responsive chord in any heart on earth, look unto Me, and live. “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10. DA 483.1
However much a shepherd may love his sheep, he loves his sons and daughters more. Jesus is not only our shepherd; He is our “everlasting Father.” And He says, “I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father.” John 10:14, 15, R. V. What a statement is this!—the only-begotten Son, He who is in the bosom of the Father, He whom God has declared to be “the Man that is My fellow” (Zechariah 13:7),—the communion between Him and the eternal God is taken to represent the communion between Christ and His children on the earth! DA 483.2
Because we are the gift of His Father, and the reward of His work, Jesus loves us. He loves us as His children. Reader, He loves you. Heaven itself can bestow nothing greater, nothing better. Therefore trust. DA 483.3Read in context »
Near the entrance to the garden, Jesus left all but three of the disciples, bidding them pray for themselves and for Him. With Peter, James, and John, He entered its secluded recesses. These three disciples were Christ's closest companions. They had beheld His glory on the mount of transfiguration; they had seen Moses and Elijah talking with Him; they had heard the voice from heaven; now in His great struggle, Christ desired their presence near Him. Often they had passed the night with Him in this retreat. On these occasions, after a season of watching and prayer, they would sleep undisturbed at a little distance from their Master, until He awoke them in the morning to go forth anew to labor. But now He desired them to spend the night with Him in prayer. Yet He could not bear that even they should witness the agony He was to endure. DA 686.1
“Tarry ye here,” He said, “and watch with Me.” DA 686.2
He went a little distance from them—not so far but that they could both see and hear Him—and fell prostrate upon the ground. He felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man's sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression. DA 686.3Read in context »
“He was taken from prison and from judgment:
And who shall declare His generation?
For He was cut off out of the land of the living:
For the transgression of My people was He stricken. PK 691.1
“And He made His grave with the wicked,
And with the rich in His death;
Because He had done no violence,
Neither was any deceit in His mouth.” PK 691.2
Isaiah 53:1-9. PK 691Read in context »
Brethren, we must sink the shaft deep in the mine of truth. You may question matters with yourselves and with one another, if you only do it in the right spirit; but too often self is large, and as soon as investigation begins, an unchristian spirit is manifested. This is just what Satan delights in, but we should come with a humble heart to know for ourselves what is truth. The time is coming when we shall be separated and scattered, and each one of us will have to stand without the privilege of communion with those of like precious faith; and how can you stand unless God is by your side, and you know that He is leading and guiding you? Whenever we come to investigate Bible truth, the Master of assemblies is with us. The Lord does not leave the ship one moment to be steered by ignorant pilots. We may receive our orders from the Captain of our salvation.... TDG 93.2Read in context »