Hard to believe that this past Sunday we reached Week 10 in my class on the Gospel according to the Minor Prophets. We looked at Zechariah, who in addition to his own prophetic book is mentioned in Ezra as well (5:1; 6:14). Those references confirm what we learn in Zechariah itself.
Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai. His first prophetic revelation came in the eighth month of the second year of the reign of Darius, or late October / early November in 520 B.C. (right in the middle of Haggai’s four-month ministry). But his ministry continued on through December 7, 518 B.C. As with Haggai, a significant focus of his ministry was the encouragement of the people to finish the reconstruction of the temple, a project completed in 516 B.C.
According to one estimate, Zechariah is quoted/alluded to/echoed some 67x, with most coming in Revelation and the Gospels. This should not be surprising, given that the key themes in Zechariah are the temple, a Davidic king, and the restoration of Jerusalem. All of these themes are picked up in the New Testament and focused on the person of Christ and his work.
I would summarize the theological big idea as this: God’s people already participate in the restored Jerusalem through repentance and faith in Jesus as they await the consummation of God’s kingdom. Zechariah’s promise of God establishing his kingdom centered on a restored Jerusalem has already been inaugurated through the death and resurrection of Jesus. As a result Zechariah’s call for repentance on the part of those who want to share in this kingdom is just as relevant, and perhaps even more so, for us today, because we have seen how that promise has been inaugurated in Christ. Thus the call for repentance from our sin is at the same time a call for faith in Yahweh’s anointed king, Jesus Christ, who not only announced the kingdom but inaugurated it. All who repent from their sin and believe in Jesus already participate in the restored Jerusalem, which is in the heavens awaiting the consummation of the new heavens and earth.
So then how should we respond to the message of Zechariah. First, we should rejoice that God has sent the long-promised Davidic king Jesus Christ to inaugurate the kingdom. Our experience of the Spirit is evidence that the kingdom has begun, and we are participants in it. So when Yahweh calls Zion to rejoice, he is speaking directly to us. Second, we should grow in our repentance from our sin and faith in Christ. The way we show that we prize God’s kingdom and prove that we are already experiencing it is a life of repentance and a manifestation of the fruit of His Spirit in us. Repentance and faith are not one-time events that begin the Christian life; they are also way in which we continually experience the kingdom. Third, we should long for the day when Christ will return and consummate the kingdom. If we truly prize the establishment of God’s kingdom above all else, we will long to see it realized in all its fullness in the new heavens and the new earth. Can you fathom that day when every last stain and remnant of sin will be done away? When the curse that hangs over this present earth is removed and all creation perfectly reflects the radiance of her maker and redeemer? So as we go into worship this morning, let us rejoice in Jesus our King, repent from our sin, and long for the consummation of God’s kingdom.
Want to hear more? You can check out the audio and the handout below: