All Roads Lead To Jesus - Zechariah

Zechariah –King Jesus is a Messiah Pierced For Us
Reading – Zechariah 12, Matthew 27

In 2015 I was turning 40 and was excited for the rekindling of my favorite movie franchise of all time. Star Wars was returning to the big screen and had been bought by Disney from George Lucas for a cool 4.4 billion dollars. The hype was real. The whole world was excited. The first movie dropped in December of 2015 and returned us to a galaxy far, far away. Most of the world enjoyed the film as our old favorite characters returned with some new fresh faces and a fresh new story.

Then, in 2017 the highly anticipated middle chapter, “The Last Jedi” dropped and the Star Wars world was torn asunder. Many of the expectations that had been set up by the first film were thrown out and discarded. Old characters did not respond in ways that had been set up in previous films and didn't remain true to their character. The fanbase felt like they were being jerked around as the storyline became more and more disjointed.

Finally, in 2019, the final film in the new trilogy was released. This film had the unenviable duty of tying up all the loose ends of both the new trilogy and the entire saga that had spanned 40 years. The creators of the film did everything they could to both please the fans, remain true to the original story, and bring a glorious end to the current trilogy. Some loved it. Some did not.

The problems with the new Star Wars effort started before the first movie was ever released. The powers-that-be did not have a story plan. They allowed the story to develop as they went along. By the end of the story, it was very clear that not every detail had been thought through. Because there was no plan, there were plot holes, missteps, and what has now in recent years come to be known as “retconning”. Retconning is the act of imposing new information into a storyline in order to “fix” or “change” our understanding of a previous storyline. Retconning tears at the fabric of a good story and feels cheap.

Good stories are based on good plans and solid plots. The story of Redemption has a perfect plan that has been unfolding since the beginning of time. God has never been surprised by any of the plot developments. Even when sin entered into the world God did not have to retcon his plan. God had always planned to choose for Himself a people. God had always planned to save His chosen people through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son. Every detail in this story plays out throughout every page of Scripture. Zechariah is a book that shows us just how detailed God’s plan was for redemption.

Zechariah was written during the rebuilding of the Temple. Zechariah was concerned with how the heart would motivate action among the people of God. Would they be just and care for those in need? Would they keep the covenant and pursue the God of their fathers?

Zechariah is an interesting book concerning Jesus because there are many verses that were either directly or indirectly quoted to substantiate Jesus’ ministry on earth. The verses are so specific that some scholars have wondered if they were either a later addition to Zechariah or if they were deliberately followed by Jesus in order to bring about the end times.

To be sure, Jesus knew the words of Zechariah well. He also knew and taught that the Old Testament prophecies referred to himself. There is no doubt that in many instances Jesus fulfilled these prophecies purposefully as he attended to the Father’s will.

In Zechariah 9:9 the prophet wrote, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
As we read these words our minds are immediately drawn to the triumphal entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem at the start of what we now call “Holy Week”. When we re-read the events prior to Jesus’ entry in the New Testament we can see how deliberate Jesus was in his instructions to the disciples to prepare for this momentous entrance. Jesus was following the plotline of Zechariah.

In Zechariah 12:10 the prophet writes, “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.” Here we are reminded of Jesus' distinct death on the Cross. Jesus’s hands, feet, and side were all pierced and his followers mourned until the resurrection. In the days after Jesus’ ascension, many in Jerusalem, when confronted with what they had done, repented and mourned over their sin even as they found their hope in the resurrected Jesus.

Zechariah 11:12–13 reminds us of a very specific event when the passage reveals, “Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter.” The reader is reminded of how Judas betrayed Jesus and ultimately out of anguish returned the blood money. The money that was returned was used by the religious leaders to purchase a ‘potter’s field’ which became known as a “field of blood” and was used to bury non-Jews.

Each of these passages leads us to Jesus in very specific ways and show us how God had always been planning the story of Redemption. Central to the story is that Jesus is the Messiah who was pierced for God’s people. Jesus rode into the last week of his life as the promised Messiah on a donkey. His ride into Jerusalem on a donkey meant he came to bring peace. But peace would come at the cost of Jesus’ life as he was pierced for our sin on a cross that we deserved.

The details prophesied about in Zechariah should lead us to the worship of Jesus Christ. We should be moved by who Jesus is and what he has done for us. But we should also be moved by the effort to which God was willing to go and the level of detail to which he planned for our salvation. God’s hand has been involved with our redemption every step of the way. He did not make the story up as he went along, but instead, in his perfect love for us, planned every part of the redemptive plan.

God has also planned out the story in our lives. We each have a purpose and that purpose is to glorify the one who was pierced for our transgressions. Each of our stories consists of details that God sovereignly planned. Each of those details will ultimately bring us to a point where we are confronted with the main character of Jesus Christ.

I know that some take great offense in hearing that God is not surprised by their personal suffering. But let me encourage you with this and being one who has suffered - I take great comfort in knowing that God was not surprised at my suffering and in fact has a plan for the suffering I have endured. What I see in a mirror dimly now will be seen with complete clarity when I behold the face of Jesus Christ.

Just as every detail and every move of the life and ministry of Jesus had been foreordained, so every detail and every move in my life is known to God. Each of those details is leading me to a certain hope – to behold the glory of God and to be with Jesus and like Jesus.

Our lives are not a series of meaningless events and encounters. Each moment of every day is known to God. Each moment of every day is an opportunity to know this God more and to glorify Him. We know God because of the one who was pierced and spoken of in Zechariah.

When Jesus was hanging dead on the cross his disciples and followers wondered how the story had ended on Golgotha. They felt betrayed and grieved by God. This was not how they imagined their story to close. But God was not finished. There was another plot twist coming that had been revealed through the prophets and all throughout the Old Testament.

Zechariah foreshadowed the resurrection of Christ when he wrote, “And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.” Jesus did not stay dead. He rose and defeated sin and death. This was no retcon. This was the story. This was always the story. And this is the story that God invites every last one of us to be cast in. This is a story worth living.

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