Finding Christ’s Return in the Book of Zechariah
Luke tells us that after Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples returned to Jerusalem (Luke 24:52). They also went back to the Scriptures. The Old Testament suddenly blossomed with good news. Everywhere they looked they found evidence that pointed toward the specifics of Jesus’ life, ministry, and Jesus’ identity as King. When they wondered why they had missed the connections before, they must have also remembered Jesus’ promise, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
When the Gospel writers recorded the details of Jesus’ life, they often used references from the Old Testament to illustrate how clearly Jesus fulfilled the character of the promised Savior and the prophecies regarding His ministry.
They particularly enjoyed quoting Old Testament passages that clearly predicted the suffering and rejection aspects of the Messiah’s role. For them, it was the central theme that set Jesus apart from the popular ideas of a conquering and powerful political messiah.
Zechariah 9:9-10 presents a prophecy whose fulfillment was clearly set in motion (although not completed) by Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on a colt, the well-known Triumphal Entry. Both Matthew and John mention this passage. John even notes that the disciples saw no immediate connection between Jesus riding on the colt and His identity as the Messiah prophesied in Zechariah. After Jesus was glorified, “then they remembered that these things were written about Him” (John 12:16).
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!Zechariah 9:9
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.
These verses in Zechariah include an important transition. The arrival of the saving King is followed immediately by a description of the effects of His long-term reign. This is an example of “prophetic compression.” Viewed from the broader context of prophecy, Zechariah was mentioning together two stages in God’s plan which are actually separated in time. The coming King would arrive twice. Jesus came first as a humble King of peace and salvation, accomplished in Jesus’ earthly ministry and His death on the Cross. Second, Jesus will come as a victorious Ruler over all the world who will “speak peace to the nations.” We should rejoice over Jesus’ first coming and anticipate the complete fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy at Christ’s glorious return.
I will cut off the chariot from EphraimZechariah 9:10
And the horse from Jerusalem;
The battle bow shall be cut off.
He shall speak peace to the nations;
His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.’