Daily Reflections December 27, 2017
This final chapter in Zechariah is filled with challenging imagery. The first six verses present a horrific picture of God’s judgement against Jerusalem. In verse 7, this judgement turns to blessing as the prophecy describes all of the ways in which God will dispel the enemies of His people.
A few observations:
1. God’s discipline for His people is firm, but it is not forever. The descriptions of judgement in the first three verses of this passage are nothing less than shocking. But we must note that God’s discipline is quickly followed by His provision.
“And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security.” (Zechariah 14:11 ESV)
2. God’s enemies will suffer His wrath. While God made use of the wicked nations of the world to discipline His people, when His purposes were completed His judgement fell. A terrifying plague is described in verses 12-15 that devastates the people and their livestock. In His righteousness, God punishes the sins of the world.
3. Yet, God will spare some of His enemies and they will become worshipers. Reflect on verse 16.
“Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.” (Zechariah 14:16 ESV)
What separated those who survived God’s judgement from those who did not? Nothing but the mercy of God. Now, those who have been spared join in with the worship of the living God. Those who were enemies of God become members of the worshiping community. The Feast of Booths was a religious ceremony instituted by God. Its inclusion in this text is a reminder that these new followers will join with God’s covenant community and will worship God in the ways in which He has prescribed.
4. God will make the ordinary sacred. Verses 20-21 describe how, in the coming days, the words “Holy to the LORD” will be inscribed on everything. This was a term for the High Priest throughout the Old Testament, but Zechariah looks forward to a time when all things will be made holy and pure. On that day, there will be no difference between the bowls in the temple and the bowls in your kitchen because all things will be set apart by God.
Admittedly, more effort is required to understand and apply the truths found in Zechariah 14. The prophets looked forward to Christ through images and illustrations, but Jesus’ coming provided the light and color that made these passages shine in all their glory. In John 5:39 Jesus tells the Pharisees that the Scriptures all speak of him. When we come to texts like the one we’ve considered today, the best thing we can do is to lift up a humble prayer and to ask God to reveal His Son in the text. By God’s grace, we will see Christ on every page. So it is here. In Christ we see God’s wrath against sin, and His provision for His people. We see the way in which God made His enemies His friends and the means by which he will make all things holy. God will fulfill all of His promises, and those promises find their culmination in Christ.
Assistant Pastor Levi denBok
After finishing the Passover meal with his disciples (John 13:1-30), the Lord Jesus delivered his farewell discourse (John 13:31 – 16:33). As we turn to John 17 we have the awesome privilege of seeing into the very depths of the Son of God as he prayed on the eve of his crucifixion. It has been called the “Holy of Holies” of the Gospel record. We read these verses with humility as they hold some of the tenderest words from the Saviour’s lips.
In this, Jesus’ longest recorded prayer, he prays for himself (vv. 1-5), for his disciples (vv. 6-19) and finally for those who one day would become believers (vv. 20-26). His priorities in prayer were: the glory of God; the sanctification of God’s people; Christian unity; and evangelism.
Jesus courageously embraced the end of his earthly life. At last, the hour of his suffering had come.
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; (John 17:1 ESV)
Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus resisted the pull by others to force their will on his life. Nothing could circumvent the Father’s plan (see also John 2:4, 7:30, 12:27, 13:1). Previously no opposition could stop him. Now, nothing could hold it back. Jesus was ready to drink the full cup of God’s wrath.
Jesus faced his final hours with resolve. His earthly work was completed. At every moment in his life he perfectly obeyed the Father’s will. Above all, he sought the Father’s glory and he was returning to that glory. However, before that would happen, God’s glory would be made manifest through the cross of his only Son. His exaltation would come at the price of his humiliation.
The cross of Christ is the means of salvation whereby eternal life is given to all God has chosen (see verses 2, 9, 11, 12, 24).
Secondly, Jesus prayed for his disciples to be kept in his Father’s care.
I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. (John 17:9 ESV)
Jesus faithfully revealed the Father to his disciples and taught them his Word. They would reach the world through obedience to the Great Commission and their life and witness would bring glory to the Son of God. The disciples were hated by the evil one and rejected by the world, yet God would keep them through times of testing and enable them to persevere in the faith. Jesus also prayed for a work of sanctification through the Word of truth as well as a depth of unity among believers that was modelled after the Father’s relationship with his Son.
Finally, Jesus prayed for all who would believe through the witness of the Apostles. This is you and I. We are in the world, yet not of it. We are sent into the world to reflect the likeness and glory of God so that others might believe in Jesus. We are loved with an affection unimaginable and have been promised an eternity that is indescribable. What infinite joy will be ours when we see his glory! Until then, what assurance we have knowing that our Great High Priest continuously intercedes for us along our earthly journey!
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25 ESV)
Associate Pastor Jody Cross