World War I was called “the war to end all wars” yet human strife and misery have continued ever since. The reason is because our ultimate enemies are sin and death, and they can only be defeated by God Himself. Zechariah 14 gives us a glorious picture of the future when God will vanquish evil and save His people to sin no more through our sinless Savior, Jesus Christ.
The death of a leader sends shockwaves through a community. How much more so the death of God’s own Son? Yet God had a purpose in striking His Shepherd and scattering His people: so that His Church might be purified and used for His greater glory. By His grace, God’s striking and scattering always leads to a greater reunion in Christ.
Sometimes we are haunted by the things we have said and done. Other times we are not even aware of our ongoing disobedience to God’s commands. What can wash away our sin? What can enable us to grow in godliness? Only the blood of Jesus, given for us. The cross opened a fountain of grace and cleansing for all who look to the Son in faith. The One who was defiled continues to purify a people for Himself until the day when defilement will be no more.
Who would have predicted that God would secure the greatest victory of all time through the greatest suffering of all time? Yet that is exactly what He did on the cross. Zechariah 12 anticipates the final victory of God’s people, secured through the suffering of the One who was pierced for us. Jesus’ suffering secures our salvation and establishes a pattern of victory through suffering in our daily Christian lives.
In the Bible, God often uses the picture of shepherds and sheep to describe His leaders and His people; only the picture isn’t pretty! Left to ourselves, we frequently neglect, abuse, and take advantage of one another. We need a Savior who is both the perfect Shepherd and the perfect Sheep: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who is the Good Shepherd.
Though the people in Zechariah’s day had been set free from Babylon, they were still enslaved to sin. They needed a second, greater exodus through a second, greater Mediator: Jesus the Messiah. Even as believers who have trusted in the Messiah in our day, we continue to fall into patterns of sin that bind us. We need to daily rediscover the grace of the Gospel that liberates us from not only sin’s ultimate penalty, but its remaining power.
Zechariah’s hearers longed for the day when their king would return to deliver them from their enemies, restore their land, and rule them in righteousness. God promised them Jesus Christ, the King who has come in glory and who will return in even greater glory to bring ultimate peace to His people.
Everyone from Barcalounger to BMW promises heaven on earth, but no one truly delivers. Every earthly comfort leaves us either disappointed or longing for more. Only God can deliver heaven on earth through the gift of His Presence and He is in the process of doing so through His Son, whom we have the privilege of proclaiming to the nations.
Rituals are wonderful servants but terrible masters. Once they take on a life of their own, they enslave us and obscure their original purpose. Religious rituals are especially dangerous, which is why God warns us to beware ritualistic religion that is devoid of Him so that we might experience true revival through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tangible symbols help us understand and remember God’s promises. In Zechariah 6, God instructs the returned exiles to create a crown for the high priest, symbolizing the coming Messiah who would be both an atoning priest and a defending king. We face many challenges in our day and the Lord provides us with tangible symbols (chiefly His supper) so that we, too, might have faith in our glorious Savior who remains both priest and king forever.