Monday, December 02, 2013

Imitate the Christ of prophecy

"Jesus riding into Jerusalem"
by Hippolyte-Jean Flandrin (1809-1864)

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Zechariah 9:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "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

These Holy Spirit-inspired words of Zechariah were fulfilled 400 years after they were spoken, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. It's a day we will celebrate on Sunday (Palm Sunday). Matthew recognizes their fulfillment in Matthew 21:4-5.

Zechariah made at least two other predictions about Jesus.

In Zechariah 3:8 he prophesies the coming of "My Servant the Branch"—"branch" referring to how Jesus was an offshoot or descendant of the family of David.

In Zechariah 6:12-13 he prophesies that the Branch he has referred to earlier shall rule as a King-Priest. His person will be glorious and peace will characterize his rule/priesthood.

A commentary article at the end of Zechariah in my Bible discusses how the book of Zechariah helps us grow. It says:

"Growing in godliness is growing in Christ-likeness. Zechariah paints a beautiful, prophetic picture of Jesus our Messiah. Take time to focus on these prophecies, allow them to permeate your spirit, and ask the Lord to conform you into the image of His glorious Son...."

From Zechariah 3:8:
"...Follow Jesus' example of deliberate servanthood."

From Zechariah 6:12-13:
"...Understand that as part of the body of Christ, you have been made a king and priest. As such you have been called to rule and reign with Him and to carry the glory of God."

From Zechariah 9:9
"...Seek to be like Jesus; extend salvation to the world with humility and love - John 12:47)" -  Leslyn Musch "Truth-In-Action Through Zechariah" - New Spirit-filled Life Bible, p. 1264.

I have never thought of applying the prophecies about Jesus in such a personal way before. But it makes sense if we take seriously advice like Paul's to the Corinthians: "Imitate me as I imitate Christ." (see 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1).

Isn't it amazing how God's word fits together. Even remote passages like these from Zechariah become part of the "God-breathed and useful" tool for "teaching, rebuking, correcting, for training in righteousness" in our lives (2 Timothy 3:16 - NIV)!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the prophetic pictures of Jesus that Zechariah paints. Please grow in me those qualities that Jesus displayed: servanthood, humility, love, an enthusiasm to spread the good news of salvation, Your glory. Amen.

MORE: "Rejoice Greatly O Daughter of Zion" from Handel's Messiah

Handel set some of the words of Zechariah 9:9 to music into his aria "Rejoice Greatly O Daughter of Zion" from the Messiah. In the rendition below Lynne Dawson sings it, along with "He Shall Feed HIs Flock," accompanied by the Brandenburg Consort conducted by Stephen Cleobury,

"Rejoice Greatly" and "He Shall Feed His Flock" 

Bible Drive-Thru

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