Today’s read of Zechariah 1:7-6:15 describes eight separate visions that the prophet Zechariah experienced. These occurred in the second year of King Darius’ reign, four years before the temple would be completed. At this point, both Zechariah and Haggai are being used to stir up the discouraged Jews to get back to their assigned task.
The commentary for this section describes the visions as referring to “many of the people and events of the present time but repeatedly appear to have dual significance, either messianic or apocalyptic.” Those are big words that simply mean they refer to Jesus’ first coming, as the Messiah, or to the end times when Jesus will come again. After all, the Old Testament is all about Jesus!
Zechariah’s visions give hope in several aspects. Israel will be restored. The wicked will be punished. God will dwell among His people. The sins of the people will one day be completely removed. The temple will be rebuilt. The land will have rest. Aren’t all of these things that we, too, long for? We want justice for the hurting. We desire for all that is evil to be put away and done with. We want our faith to finally be sight. We want to worship God face to face, to have all our questions answered, and this weak and frail flesh to be stripped off and laid aside. We want those glorified bodies that will never sin. We want to enter our true Sabbath rest.
Zechariah’s visions are mysterious. A surface read won’t do them justice, but it does one thing for me. It assures me that God has a plan that He is working, and one day every difficult passage in scripture will be explained and made clear as we watch that plan unfold before our very eyes. And while we look forward to our full restoration described in what is not yet come to be, we can rest today in what already has been done: Jesus, the Branch that Zechariah talks about has already come to remove our sins. Isaiah described this same Branch many years earlier.
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
Are you like the Jewish people, struggling in the work God’s called you to do? Are you discouraged? Downhearted? Doubting God’s promises? Then look at Jesus. He’s already fulfilled the most amazing, world-changing promise He ever made. In light of that, don’t you think He can carry out whatever it is He’s got planned for you?