"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).
During a period of hardship in your life, have you found yourself longing for “better days”? Did the hope of a brighter day ahead help you to endure the challenging times that were before you?
The prophet Zechariah ministered to God’s people following their return from Babylonian captivity. They had gone into captivity because of the sin and rebellion against God. However, now things were looking brighter. Cyrus, King of Persia, had released them to go and rebuild the Temple of God at Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-4). Through a series of visions and prophesies, God had sent the prophet Zechariah to encourage them to finish this great work.
However, although things looked brighter for God’s people as they were being given the opportunity to rebuild God’s Temple, things were by no means perfect. God’s people were still under the rule of another nation. They still did not have their own king to lead them.
As the opening verses above indicate, to encourage His people, God through Zechariah gives them hope of “better days” to come for them. Their King, the Messiah is coming (Zechariah 9:9). In other parts of the book of Zechariah we see references to the coming of Christ. For example, when Joshua the High Priest is given an elaborate crown, Zechariah is told, “Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: "Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the Lord; yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” ’ " (Zechariah 6:12-13). From the New Testament we clearly see this is a reference to Jesus as we see Jesus would build His Temple, the church (Matthew 16:18), rule on His throne (1 Corinthians 15:25), be a priest on His throne (Hebrews 8:1-2), and provide the “counsel of peace” (Ephesians 2:14-17).
However, while God’s people could look forward to “brighter days” when their King, Jesus Christ, would come, Zechariah also prophesies of the pain and agony Jesus would have to endure for them so they could enjoy these blessings. Zechariah foretells how Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; cf. Matthew 27:3-10) and how Jesus would be “pierced” as he endured the crucifixion: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).
God was providing “better days” for His people, but it was not without cost. His own Son would have to pay the great cost for His people to enjoy happier times. Today, I rejoice because Jesus paid the great cost for my sins as He endured the cross for me so that I might enjoy better days, not only on this earth as I rejoice over the forgiveness of my sins, but as I look forward to my home in Heaven!
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14).