Advent Reflections – God’s covenant promises

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9 (NIV)

Read: Zechariah 9:9-17

Consider: At the beginning of the book of the prophet Zechariah we read: In the eighth month of the second year of Darius the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo (Zechariah 1:1). This places the book in the reign of Darius, king of Persia, who reigned from 522-486BC and gives us a date of 520BC.  We have thought about prophecy before, but this particular section of Zechariah might seem strange as 9:9 refers to Christ’s first advent, while 9:10-17 refer to Christ’s second advent (return at the end of time).

The prophecy concerning the Messiah riding into Jerusalem on a donkey (9:9) would have seemed incredible to those living in captivity during Zechariah’s time. Yet some 553 years later that is exactly what Jesus did (Matthew 21:1-5).

How do you feel when you read prophecies like this? Are you disconcerted, or are you excited by the prospect of their fulfilment? While we look back on the fulfilment of the first prophecy in Jesus during his time on earth, we should have confidence that the second part of the prophecy will also be fulfilled. Our confidence should not be based on fulfilment of the first part (though we can gain confidence from it). Look at what Zechariah says: As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free the prisoners from the waterless pit (9:11). This means that it is because of God’s faithfulness to his promises that these things will happen; God’s covenant promises are sure.

During this advent period leading up to celebrating Jesus’ birth, let us keep in mind that God’s promises are ongoing, some awaiting fulfilment in Jesus’ return at the end of time. Zechariah tells us that at that time:  He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River [Euphrates] to the ends of the earth (Zechariah 9:10b). Zechariah also tells us:  The LORD their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be! (Zechariah 9:16-17a).

Pray: Father, help us to remember that Christmas is only fulfilment of one aspect of your covenant promises. May we expectantly await fulfilment of Jesus’s return to earth when peace will reign forever. Amen

Every blessing

Next:  #22. Advent Reflections – God’s servant Zechariah

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