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Sermons on Zechariah
Zechariah, chapter 13, is all about purity! A fountain flows to take away sin, a remnant is refined by the fire, and a shepherd is stricken so that the sheep will scatter. Wait a minute! How does that third point relate? How does the quest for devotion and purity -- the kind that would even see parents slaying their children if they became false prophets -- relate to a shepherd being stricken? It's an important Old Testament reference because Jesus will quote it directly as relating to him! What did Jesus try to teach his disciples by quoting Zechariah 13?
Don't let the introduction throw you off! This message is important to understanding the theological hermeneutic that links the Old Testament hope with the New Testament gospel! This hermeneutic is borne out of a verse by verse commentary of Zechariah, chapter 14.
Zechariah, chapter 12, signals the prophet's final "burden" of the Lord. It is about a future "Day" when the Lord will protect and restore His covenant people at Jerusalem. There are two objectives for this message: A preacher's burden to teach Bible readers what they should anticipate when reading the prophetic sections of the Old Testament (and beyond). The second, is the prophet's burden to move a remnant people to understand that God's victory, founded upon grace and mercy, will be personally understood through mourning and bitterness over a "firstborn" who has been "pierced!"
There has always been a hope of restoring Jerusalem... or at least a community that will reflect the "Zion of God." The first Zionist movement took place with the returning exiles from Babylon/Persia. Zechariah reminds the remnant that they are a part of God's plan to restore a new Jerusalem. It would be prosperous, populace, and a place for -- Gentiles!?! A presentation of the Gospel is played out with Joshua the High Priest in chapter 3. It is the basis for how all who are called by God, Jewish and Gentile, will become a part of the New Jerusalem!
God loves His sheep; but do His sheep love Him? Will they ever love Him? Zechariah is charged with a task of shepherding the flock of the returning remnant. He has plans to prosper them and to defend them -- but the sheep rebel, and the other shepherds don't appreciate him. Will there ever be a day when Israel follows the voice of their true shepherd? Yes! But the true shepherd must first lay down his life for them. Not simply to protect the sheep from wolves; but also from the just judgment of God that they so deserve!
Zechariah is one of those books many people have heard of but have never actually studied. This is an overview of the book of Zechariah and should be helpful to those who listen.
The conclusion of Zechariah's 8 visions reveals the importance of two Messianic figures as the highlight of the Jewish Eschatological Hope and the call to live mindful of God's impending judgment upon the world. This is also an important reminder of the Gospel of the true Messiah.
"You've returned to the land; you've returned to the work; but have you returned to ME?" The prophet Zechariah opens his text by revealing the anger of the Lord -- and somehow, we are supposed to return to an angry God? How do we return to God rightly? Why would God accept us? How do we acknowledge this "returning" in our corporate worship of God?
The last mention in the Bible of the phrase, "The word of the Lord came to me," is to the prophet Zechariah. What will this word be that concludes the Old Testament canon? First, the Messiah is still coming and he will be known as, "The Branch." Secondly, The Lord is still passionate about the future of Zion (and for those who will dwell there.)