Lenten Midweek IV

“Yahweh Remembers: He Returns Double”

Zechariah 9:9-13


            The Word of God for us to consider tonight comes from the prophet Zechariah: [Zechariah 9:9-13]

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The people are without a king.  Or, rather, they are ruled by a foreign government that does not worship Yahweh, and so cannot have Judah’s best interests in mind.  But their true King is coming.  The enemies who are now so proud will be destroyed.  Yahweh will encamp at His House like a guard, so that no foreign nation will ever again overtake His people (Zechariah 9:8).  Now, you few, you small remnant of the people of Jerusalem and Judah, rejoice!  Shout loudly with joy!  You are not alone; your King is coming to you, coming for you.  But understand what sort of King this is.  He is no King riding on a warhorse, with armies and armies at His back.  He is a righteous King, one having been delivered, who will ride into His holy city on a donkey, a beast used for hard labor.  He will not be found in a palace or a fortress; He is poor and lowly: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20, ESV).  His coming will mean that His people will have no need of weapons to defend themselves or advance His Kingdom: “I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off” (Zechariah 9:10, ESV).  Peace, and not war, will be the watchword of His reign.  But, even here, it is not the uneasy peace that the world knows, which is simply a lack of war.  This peace is a peace spoken into existence in the minds and hearts of the people of Yahweh.  By His Word, the nations who were once against His people in war will join with His people in peace.  “[H]is rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:10b, ESV).  Previously, the Kingdom of the people of Yahweh had only extended as far as the River, that is, the Euphrates, north and east of Israel.  But now, the long-promised Messianic King of the Jews will extend Yahweh’s reign over the whole earth, to the furthest corners of creation.  On that Day, there will be no place and no person outside the reign of this King.

And that is what you once were: outside His reign, outside the boundaries of His Kingdom.  He knows your sin and your alienation.  He knows the darkness behind your blind eyes.  “For [Yahweh] has an eye on all mankind and on all the tribes of Israel” (Zechariah 9:1, ESV).  No one-not you, not me-can escape the gaze of the Lord God of all creation.  “For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps.  There is no gloom or deep darkness where evildoers may hide themselves” (Job 34:21-22, ESV).  Surely, the Conqueror is coming to Greece, who represents all the nations outside Israel, including us.  This King will conquer by bloodshed, but-here is the divine catch-it is by His own blood that He will conquer.  Unless the blood of the covenant has been sprinkled on you, unless you have been made part of the people of God by blood, you have no share with the coming King.  “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22, ESV).

And that blood of the new covenant, the holy, precious blood and the innocent suffering and death of Jesus, has been extended to you, not only as it washed you white in Baptism, but every time you eat and drink at the Table of the humble King.  He was delivered from death when He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father (Romans 6:4).  And so He comes, righteous and bearing the deliverance from the dead for you.  This King wears a blood-stained robe and His gracious rule extends over the whole earth.  Return to your stronghold, to the Rock of your salvation, O prisoners of hope!  For today, and every day, He restores to you double what your sin lost (Zechariah 9:12).  The image of God in the First Adam has been restored double in the image of God in the Second Adam.  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your King is coming to you (Zechariah 9:9).  “For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty (Zechariah 9:17a)!

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, ESV).  Amen.

–Pr. Timothy Winterstein, 3/04/08

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