“Is Zechariah 13:6 a reference to Christ?”
“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (Zec 13:6 KJV).
As believers in the Lord Jesus, we often think about the wounds of our Saviour. Forever He will bear the marks of the nails that pierced His hands and feet. Although there are many references to the Lord’s hands in both Testaments, a proper understanding of the text under consideration will help us see that it is not included in that list.
Zechariah is divided into two basic sections, with the second starting in chapter 9. In this second section of the prophecy, there are two burdens mentioned (9:1; 12:1). So we are in the last oracle of Zechariah (12:1-14:21) where on 16 occasions he says “in that day.” To what day is he referring? It is the coming Messianic age, when the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to the nation of Israel: “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (12:10). The result will be a national salvation, due to their genuine repentance.
Two verses in chapter 13 help us understand the work that has already been accomplished: “There shall be a fountain opened to the house of David” (13:1), and “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd … smite the shepherd” (13:7). A fountain opened for cleansing and a sword smiting in judgment are obvious references to the events of the cross. Both 12:10 and 13:7 are obvious references to Christ, as we find them quoted in the NT. However, there is no quotation from 13:6. Why not?
Consider the context of this section. There will be “in that day” an end to idolatry, false prophecy and the unclean spirit. Verses 3-6 deal with coming false prophets, who at that time will understand the danger of continuing in that line of work, and will seemingly repent. Because the fear of the Lord will fall upon the land, even a false prophet’s parents will disavow him and, if need be, “thrust him through” (v3). The false prophets will try to blend in to the general population, as seen in vv4-5, changing their clothing and denying their prophetic office.
However, some false prophets will still bear evidence in their bodies to their former office, and someone will ask: “What are these wounds in thine hands?” (13:6). The response is meant to deflect attention away from the fact that these wounds were related to his office, as there were times when false prophets would inflict wounds upon themselves (e.g., 1Ki 18:28). When he refers to the “house of my friends,” he possibly is trying to convince the questioner that the wounds were part of his parents’ discipline, or perhaps the consequence of interaction with some of his friends.
The prophet then returns to the judicial stroke of the wrath of God against the true Shepherd in verse 7. He has mentioned the human responsibility in regards to His death in 12:10 (“whom they have pierced”), but now the divine side is seen as well.
Yes, the Lord Jesus had wounds in His hands, but they were not given to Him by His friends but by those who hated Him without a cause. We worship the One who was “wounded for our transgressions.”