Zechariah the Prophet prophesied at the time of Darius of Persia (ca. 520-18 BC), during the same time as the Prophet Haggai, with a preaching ministry that spanned about fifty years (520-470 BC). He became a martyr for His faithful preaching and teaching, and was nobly recognized by the Lord Jesus Christ for His faithful example (Matt. 23:35; 2 Chron. 24:20-21).
Zechariah’s prophesy is saturated with rich, biblical, gospel truth. He speaks of the hope of the Incarnation that we celebrate at Christmastide. Let us meditate on this wonderful book of prophecy to encourage our souls to joy this Christmas! Christ has come! God promises His believing people:
And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD,
and I will be the glory in her midst.'” (ESV Zechariah 2:5)
The theme of Zechariah’s Gospel is that though the people of Israel are unfaithful to His covenant, God will be faithful to His covenant promises, and God Himself will come and make His holy presence known in their midst, making His people holy. God will dwell in the midst of His people! God’s great promise is:
“I will be their God and they shall be my people, and I will dwell in their midst forever”.
Meditate upon this at Christmastide: Repentance: Because God is holy, and we are sinful, God’s people need daily repentance (Zech. 1). God’s people are called to a life of repentance before His holy throne. God will through preaching and the power of His Spirit bring His people to repentance. In light of all the good that God has done for His people, the people are called to repent: “Return to me…and I will return to you” (1:3). In the Incarnation, the Son of God came preaching “repentance and the forgiveness of sins”.
Meditate upon this at Christmastide: Holy People: “God’s glory is revealed in the midst of the people” (2:5). How? Ultimately, through the “pierced one” who is a fountain for sinners to bathe in! (12:10, 13:1). Though there is sin in God’s people, God’s glory will be revealed, and His power and grace will transform them into a holy people. In the Incarnation, the Son of God came to make the good news of the Kingdom known, and was pierced for His people’s iniquity, so that by His blood, and through repentance and the forgiveness of sins, God’s glory by His Spirit could be realized in His people, and as a “wall of fire around” them (2:5a). On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came as fire and glory to dwell in the purified church.
Meditate upon this at Christmastide: Righteousness: God’s people need righteousness (Zech. 3). Though the people, symbolized by Joshua the High Priest, are soiled with filthy, sinful garments. The LORD will remove these garments of filth and wickedness, and give His righteousness to all who believe. In the Incarnation, the Son of God took our flesh to earn perfect righteousness before God, and to clothe His own with His own glorious righteousness.
Meditate upon this at Christmastide: Power: God’s people need the power and fullness of His Holy Spirit (Zech. 4). “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD (4:6). God will grant a full supply of His Holy Spirit so that God’s people through His grace (4:7b) can live the holy lives that they have been called to live. In the Incarnation, the Son of God was anointed with the Spirit without measure to be the “Christ” or “Anointed One” to provide the Holy Spirit for them so that they could have access to “grace upon grace” without measure in union with the risen Son of God.
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. (ESV Zechariah 12:10)
Meditate upon this at Christmastide: Mediator: God’s people need a crown Priest-King- “The Branch” (Zech. 6). God’s people need a king to rule and reign over them as a “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. We need one to subdue our evil hearts to God’s purposes. We need one who is also a priest to offer a final sacrifice and offering on our behalf for the forgiveness of sins, and to pray for us continually, both day and night, for our faith not to fail. In the Incarnation, the Son of God was the Holy “Branch” of Jesus, True and Faithful Israel, to offer Himself as the final sacrificial offering, the True Lamb of God, to take away the sins of God’s people, and to be enthroned on High as only Mediator and Priest-King, full of compassion and power for His people.
Meditate upon this at Christmastide: Fasting and Feasting: God’s people’s fasting will lead to feasting (Zech. 7-8). Though God’s people are called to humble themselves from the heart through fasting, this will lead to feasting with the LORD in their midst. Though the people are presently humbled, they will sup with the LORD for evermore! Hallelujah! In the Incarnation, Christ came fasting through humility even unto death, so that He might secure everlasting life for His own and invite them to an eternal Supper and Feast of the Lamb! When we gather at the Lord’s Table at communion, we can be reminded that this is a foretaste of the feast that we shall enjoy with Christ for all eternity.
Meditate upon this at Christmastide: Fountain: God’s glory that is promised in Zechariah’s prophecy is ultimately revealed in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ (Zech. 9:10; 13:7). God has richly provided for believing sinners a FOUNTAIN. In this fountain, Jesus Christ has purchased through His blood, our forgiveness, joy, and sanctifying grace. Through the Incarnation of the Son of God, God brings both comfort and conformity to Christ!
“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. (ESV Zechariah 13:1)