A Different Kind of King
During lent, we consider this prophetic passage about the coming of the Messianic King. Jesus fulfilled this passage when he entered Jerusalem a week before his death. We celebrate this "Triumphal Entry" on Palm Sunday (March 28, 2021).
1. Recognize the Context: Historical Context
Shortly after the Persians defeated the Babylonians, the people of Judah were allowed to return from exile in order to rebuild Jerusalem (c. 539 B.C.). Zechariah was the grandson of Iddo, a priest who returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile (Zech. 1:1, Neh. 12:4,16). Zechariah began his prophetic ministry in 520 B.C. The people who had returned to Jerusalem were discouraged because the Temple rebuilding project had been delayed. At this time, the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah to encourage the people.
Chapters 1-8 contain a series of visions God used to communicate his message to Zechariah.
Chapters 9-14 contain two main messages about the coming of God’s future kingdom and king.
In chapter 9:1-8, there is an announcement of future judgment against Israel’s enemies.
2. Read the Scripture: Zechariah 9:9-10
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
3. Reflect on the Scripture:
Verse 9 exhorts Jerusalem to rejoice (Jerusalem is also called “Zion” in the Old Testament). They were encouraged to celebrate the future arrival of the Messianic king. After Zechariah announced his coming, he described the Messiah.
1. He will be righteous-of right moral and ethical character.
2. He will be victorious-bringing salvation and deliverance.
3. He will be lowly-humble.
4. He will ride on a colt-a demonstration of peace and humility.
5. Because he will be victorious, he won’t need the equipment of warfare (verse 10).
6. He will proclaim peace (Isa. 9:6-7), and his reign will cover the earth.
Matthew referenced this passage and its fulfillment when Jesus sent his disciples to get a colt for him to ride into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:5). We associate this reference with Jesus’ “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem, which took place a week before the crucifixion and the resurrection. However, these verses are not merely important for understanding the end of Jesus' life. This passage is significant for understanding his initial coming as the Messiah and the fulfillment of his Messianic role. Jesus truly is the king who came to establish God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
4. Relate to life:
Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.
In the Gospels, Jesus spoke of God’s Kingdom as present (first century), but also as future (at the end of time). Today, we don’t see the Kingdom of God in its fullest form, but we will when he returns. As Christians, we live between his First Advent and his Second Advent. We look back in celebration of his first coming, including his death and resurrection for our salvation. We also look forward with hopeful expectation as we await His second coming.
Today, prayerfully consider what it means for God's Kingdom to be present in this world today.
Today, prayerfully consider what it means for Jesus to be king (or Lord) over everything?
Today, prayerfully consider what it means for Jesus to be Lord in your life today? Is there something you need to surrender anew to his Lordship this Lenten season?
To do: (Actions with the Holy Spirit's help)
Given the prayer suggestions above, how do you need to respond today? Think about your attitudes, actions, and words. Think about your family, friends, church community, and co-workers.
Share what you’ve learned or been reminded of this Lenten season with a friend.
To study: (Always make sure to read the immediate context of the given passage.)
Read and study the passages listed above.
Read and study Matthew 6:9-13 (known as the "Lord’s Prayer"). Notice what it says about God’s Kingdom. Search biblegateway.com (or another Bible app) for the Kingdom of God (the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew) and write down everything Jesus says about it.