Thru the Bible – Day 217

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Day 217 – Thru the Bible

Today we complete Zechariah. Great job!

Zechariah 9The coming King is humble and righteous, bringing salvation to His people and breaking the battle bow of His enemies. This passage forms the backdrop to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The crowds saw the coming King and thought there would be a straightforward road to victory. Yet the night before He died, Jesus said, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). His shed blood would bring us peace. The righteous King had to die in place of His unrighteous followers.

The same King will return, not seated on a donkey but riding a war horse (Revelation 19:11–16). He will come to smash His enemies once for all—including the last enemy, death itself—and to set all of His people free. Meanwhile, as we experience a world of hostile foes and waterless pits, we are called to wait with hope, confident that our King will return victoriously to bring about our full salvation.

How does knowing that Jesus will bring ultimate victory to this world and your life give you peace today?

 

Zechariah 10Rain was the most basic (and unpredictable) necessity for life in Judah, so the God (or gods) from whom the people sought rain was a key indicator of their spiritual health. For us, there are many things we view as essential to our lives, such as a fulfilling career or a loving relationship. Are we willing to entrust the most precious aspects of our lives to the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to provide them, or do we turn to the idols of our own wiles, works, and superstitions?

The Lord would judge the false shepherds and provide the flock with the godly leaders they needed. Yet even these either failed or died eventually. None of them lasted. Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd appointed by the Father to take care of His flock (John 10). He is the true cornerstone upon which His church is built (Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20). God also gives pastors and teachers to shepherd his flock, under Jesus (Ephesians 4:11–13; 1 Peter 5:1–4). In Jesus we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). One day He will bring us home.

Why should we feel the need to seek anything we need from any other source?

 

Zechariah 11By raising up Zerubbabel, the Lord gave His people a fresh start under a shepherd who cared for their welfare. The people apparently rejected Zerubbabel, however, a choice that would have dire consequences. Jesus likewise came to earth to shepherd a flock otherwise destined to destruction. His own flock, the Jews, refused to receive Him (John 1:11). His disciples abandoned Him and fled, while Judas betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14). When Judas later took his wages and tried to return them to the religious authorities, they used the money to buy a piece of ground known as “the potter’s field” in which to bury foreigners (Matthew 27:9–10).

As the Good Shepherd, Jesus now unites Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles into His new flock through His own death for the sheep. Yet those who reject Jesus, whether Jews or Gentiles, will hear God say, “I will not be your shepherd” (11:9). Such a rejection of the Messiah by the Jews of Jesus’ day led to the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 by the Romans. Yet the Lord will not abandon His promise to have a flock of His own.

 

Zechariah 12 & 13God’s purpose for Israel was that they would be a blessing to the nations (Genesis 12:1–3). Yet the Abrahamic covenant also warned that if the nations attacked His people, these nations would find themselves under the Lord’s curse. The Lord is able to defend His people against all threats.

This message is relevant for God’s people in all times and ages, even though the earthly city of Jerusalem is no longer the center of our hope. God no longer dwells in a particular location in the Middle East; now He dwells by His Spirit in the midst of His people, wherever they gather (Matthew 18:20). The promises made to Jerusalem and Judah have continuing significance for us as Believers because trials and tribulations are a universal part of our experience (Acts 14:22). No matter how intense our trials, they should not cause us to despair, for the Lord is committed to deliver His people and judge our enemies. However weak we are in ourselves, the Lord is able to strengthen us to stand, giving us a glory far beyond anything that comes from ourselves (2 Corinthians 4).

Mourning for sin comes through a pouring out of God’s grace and spirit (12:10). Repentance is a gift from God, worked by His Spirit, not an attitude that we drum up. Our sins have pierced the Lord not just metaphorically but literally, as our sin was paid for at the cross. That reality should make us weep over our personal sin, as well as the sins of others in our community. Yet the cross denotes not merely the sad reality of what we have done to God but also the triumphant reality of what He has done for us. At the cross, my sins pierced Jesus, but the blood which flowed from His wounds forms a cleansing fountain that washes away all of my transgressions (13:1). As we confessed our sins in true repentance, the blood of Jesus purified us from all our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). For that reason, when we fix our eyes on the cross, we not only mourn for our sins, but we also glory in the grace of God that saved us and which will ultimately renew all creation.

The Good Shepherd that the Lord provided would be struck down (13:7), resulting in difficult times of testing and purification for the flock. This prophecy is fulfilled in the death of Jesus and the scattering of the disciples that followed (Matthew 26:31). The Christian life is a constant experience of trials and difficulties, yet these afflictions are God’s means of refining His people and setting our hearts firmly on our Jesus. And through it all, we know that our trials are not to punish us in anger but to train us in love. For Jesus was punished on our behalf, so that every trial can only be from a heavenly Father (not a detached Judge), for our good.

When you struggle, how do you remember that it’s not a punishment, and trust the God is working all things for your good?

 

Zechariah 14The prophet warns people already struggling to remain faithful in difficult circumstances that there were far greater trials yet to come. And yet, even trials as horrific as those he describes in this chapter cannot destroy the Lord’s people, for God will certainly deliver them in the end. The persecutors of God’s people are more to be pitied than the martyrs whom they slaughter, for they will be victims of divine judgment of truly terrible proportions. On the last day, every knee will bow before the Lord and His Anointed, either willingly or unwillingly. How much better to bow willingly, no matter the cost, than to be found holding out against the Lord when time finally runs out.

Meanwhile, all of life is raised to the level of the sacred for those who have been redeemed. We are living stones in God’s temple and members of a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5).

How does knowing your true identity in Jesus help you to continue to allHis love to flow through you?

 

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?

 

Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.

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