Daily Reflections December 22, 2017
The ninth chapter of Zechariah begins a new section. The first eight chapters create a universal longing for God to come in power and save his people. So, here, the prophet breaks that tension and proclaims that the Lord will come to intervene in a glorious way.
He will come to both judge and save the surrounding nations. They will be brought to their knees and humbled for the coming of God’s anointed king. And this will not be any ordinary king. This will be Judah’s long-awaited messianic King of Zion.
The description of the king tells us both his character and his accomplishments. He is first said to be righteous. That is not a term used very often in common vernacular and when it is used, very few understand its meaning. One commentator, George Klein helps by stating,
“In its most basic sense, righteousness reflects conformity to an established standard. For instance, the Bible calls for weights and measures to show “righteousness,” that is, to be honest in all business dealings (Lev 19:36). In its theological sense, righteousness reflects moral standards that rest on the character of God himself.” 
So, this king will be the one who will fulfill all the standards of God perfectly. Not only will he rule and reign in a righteous way but he will also be morally righteous – fulfilling the letter of the Law that the Israelites continually violate due to their sinful hearts. And because of this, he will bring true and lasting salvation for their soul. That is news worth rejoicing about!
Secondly, the King is said to be a humble king. He would be unlike other kings who clamor to the top by exalting themselves or trusting in his warhorses to domineer the nations. Instead, he would come as a suffering, servant king. Isaiah 53 expounds on this quality of the King when it says,
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:2b-3).
Furthermore, he would come on a donkey. In those days, donkeys were not an uncommon mode of transportation even for kings. It was not considered a far less superior animal than a horse like it is today. So the thrust of mentioning the colt is not that he chose a less exalted animal because he was humble. The purpose is to defeat the notion that the anointed King was like the other kings that thought war would bring them peace. The Old Testament is filled with passages that warn against trusting in horses and chariots. For example, Isaiah 31:1 says,
“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!” (Isaiah 31:1).
Salvation will not come from a king riding on a warhorse. It will come first from a servant riding on a donkey that would defeat the root of all war, evil, and sin. It will come from the Son of God humbling himself in obedience and becoming sin for us that we might become sons of God.
Yours in Christ,
Associate Pastor Evan Webster
George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 271.
Chapter 12 serves as a significant turning point in the Gospel of John. It is in this chapter that we read of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and we hear him proclaim that the hour of his glorification has now come (v. 23). Up until this point this hour has always been spoken of as a future event (2:4; 7:30; 8:20), but with Passover now quickly approaching the event to which this entire Gospel has pointed us to is now about to unfold. The death of Jesus is imminent.
The first event in this chapter is the beautiful story of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet. We see in Mary’s actions a wonderful display of worship. Mary models for us what sincere, humble, devotion to the Lord looks like. We learn from this story that there is no cost too great when it comes to offering worship to the King.
Jesus’ response to Judas should not be understood as a critique of giving to the poor, but it should remind us that this is not the sole priority of the church. It is in this story that we also receive the first hint that Jesus death is fast approaching. Jesus makes mention that the day of his burial is approaching and that he will not be with the people (in body) forever.
The next major scene that we witness is Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In this dramatic event Jesus enters the city as a King. Previously in John’s Gospel when the crowds wanted to make Jesus King he withdrew from them (6:15), but at this moment Jesus hears the cries of the people and acts accordingly. While we may not instantly think of a donkey colt being the fitting ride for a King, John reminds us that this was foretold in Zechariah 9:9. Reading the entirety of that verse is helpful:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Jesus is not entering Jerusalem on a war horse ready to do battle with the Romans, but he instead comes as the humble King to bring salvation to the people. This is a salvation not against the oppressive nations, but rather a salvation from sin and death.
The chapter finishes with an extensive look at what Christ is about to accomplish, and how his followers should respond. We are told that Christ must die so that others can have life (v. 24), and that in this death the words of Genesis 3:15 will be fulfilled. The ruler of the world (Satan) will indeed have his head crushed by Christ (v.31), but the cost of this salvation is the death of the King. At first glance this is both good and bitter news. It is not until the resurrection that true joy will fill the hearts of the disciples.
What is the appropriate response to this news? First, Christ tells us that we should be prepared to follow him even unto death (v. 25). In this we are once again reminded that there is no cost too great in the worship of the Lord.
Secondly, we are commanded to believe that Jesus is the light (v.36). Jesus knows that the disciples will soon be surrounded by darkness so he instructs them to build their faith now while he remains with him. Finally, we are told to receive the words of Christ as from the Father (vv. 48-49). In doing this we will have eternal life in His name.
Director of Youth Ministries Ryan Shevalier