Preparing the Way

Zechariah 9

October 24

By Melody Keena

God had planned from before the foundation of the earth (1 Peter 1:20) that Jesus would come and be the Lamb (Rev 13:8) that would be killed to take away the sins of the world.  The first eight verses of this chapter (Zechariah’s prophesies) and Daniel’s prophesies (Daniel 7-8) about the same time frame tell of how Alexander the Great conquered the known world and unified it.  Alexander defeated Persia in 333 BC then moved to Phoenicia continuing his campaign. Hadrak (Hadrach) was in the far north of palatine and Damascus was the capital of Syria. Alexander conquered both and then moved down the coast capturing Tyre, Sidon, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Gaza (the last three are Philistine cities). Alexander passed by Jerusalem on his way south but then came back to go after Israel for not paying him tribute.  The high priest at the time called for prayer and fasting and made sacrifices. God heard and in a dream told him to have everyone dress in white and open the doors to Alexander when he came.  Alexander was impressed and heard how the prophets had predicted his victories so left the Israelites alone and even sacrificed to God while he was there. 

Why do we care about this history that was prophesied about?  Alexander unified the known world and setup Greek as the common language. Greek was what the New Testament was written in.  When the Romans later took over they setup the government and built roads in this already established empire.  The common language and good roads made it possible for the gospel to travel far and wide.  So all of this had to happen to prepare the way for Jesus coming and the ministry of the early church.

Zechariah then tells how Jesus will ride into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday during His first coming.  Unlike Alexander who rode in on a mighty steed with his army behind him, Jesus came on a lowly donkey through the gate that the Passover lambs were brought into the city.  Both came as conquerors.  Jesus came to conquer death and the grave, to bring grace and forgiveness.  The little children and the common people welcomed Him with praise and palm branches.  When Alexander came the people were afraid but were commanded to rejoice and shout.  Alexander made a great speech but Jesus wept over the city and went to the cross rather than killing His enemies and taking the city.

Zechariah is not done though (9:10), now he tells us about Jesus second coming. He will come proclaiming peace, no more wars (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3) and will rule over all kingdoms. He will free prisoners and restore what was lost. He will ride forth with His army like a mighty storm to shield and save His people.  He will be our Shepherd and we will be like jewels in His crown reflecting His glory all around. 

How are we preparing for Jesus in our hearts and lives?  Do we put all things under His control?  Are we ready to meet Him either when He comes again or when we die?  Now is the time to prepare the way for Jesus.

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