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God Comes in Humility, Yet Still with Might

December 20, 2015 Speaker: Bret Rogers Series: Zechariah: Return & Restoration

Topic: Advent Passage: Zechariah 9:9–9:11

Sermon from Zechariah 9:9-11 by Bret Rogers, Pastor
Series: Zechariah: Return & Restoration (Part 13)
Delivered on December 20, 2015

We’ll only be covering verses 9-11 this morning, and saving the rest for next week. But before I read, let me try to explain how verses 9-11 relate to some of the things we covered last week from verses 1-8.

Basically, we saw that God will eventually cut down the arrogant nations—he will judge the world (9:1-6). But verses 7-8 promise that God would also show mercy to a remnant among the nations. And he would do this by taking away their idols, making them a part of his people, and bringing them into his presence.

But the question becomes, how can God just cleanse people from idolatry like that?[1. This question rises from the relationship I see between Zechariah 3:8-9, with the coming of the Branch and God’s “eyes” fixed on a new covenant for the forgiveness of sins (see sermon on 3:1-10 for further treatment), and then Zechariah 9:8 with a second allusion to God's fixation on the covenant in seeing with “my own eyes” also in association with the coming King.] And when the remnant is just as guilty as the rest of the nations, how can he still be righteous and not punish them (cf. Zech 1:2; 3:3-4, 9; 5:6)? How does verse 8—when they’re all dwelling in his presence together, as if there’s now total peace between a holy God and a once sinful people—how does that even become a reality (cf. Rom 3:21-26)?

Well, verses 9-11 supply the answer: God will do all these things through the coming of one special King in Israel (cf. also Zech 3:4, 9; 12:10-13:1; Isa 9:1-7; 53). He has been hinted at before in one called the Branch (Zech 3:8; 6:12); but there’s even more to love about him. So let’s read about his coming…

9Rejoice 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. 10I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 11As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.

The Coming King’s Arrival

The way verse 9 begins, it seems the whole world should be on the edge of their seats, waiting for this King’s arrival. Verse 9 begins with a call to rejoice: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!” The reason for the rejoicing is then found in the very next line: “Behold, your king is coming to you.”

Now, this call to rejoice is rather remarkable for a couple of reasons. One way it’s remarkable is that it further develops the theme of God’s own coming that we’ve already seen elsewhere in Zechariah. Several times over Yahweh promises that he’ll eventually return to Jerusalem (1:16; 2:5, 11; 8:3). In fact, Zechariah 2:10 even has this same call to rejoice, but it’s applied to Yahweh’s coming: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD.”

What should we make of this alternation between God’s coming, on the one hand, and his King’s coming, on the other? I would say that this is Zechariah’s way of saying that the King’s coming is God’s coming. The King shares such unity with God that the King’s coming is equivalent to God’s coming.

Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I read about God’s coming in the Bible, things don’t turn out so great for sinners. God’s coming to earth is terrifying, because it means judgment for wicked people like me. But this brings up another way this call to rejoice is remarkable—namely, this King comes to show favor to sinners. All the sinners that he has chosen by mercy—whether from Israel or the nations—all of them that he has gathered to Zion—he comes to show them favor.

If you want to capture more of the Hebrew idiom here, it’s not merely that your king is coming to you, he’s also coming for you. He comes for your benefit. He doesn’t come like other kings, who just want the power at the people’s expense. This King pursues the best interest of his people—“Behold, your king is coming for you.” If there’s anything we need, most of all it’s for God to show us favor despite our rebellion against him. That’s what this King comes to do; he comes to show us favor when all we deserve is judgment.

And this is really the overarching hope bound up with all the promises in Scripture in relation to this King. The offspring of a woman would one day come and show us favor by crushing the Serpent’s head (Gen 3:15; Rom 16:20). The offspring of Abraham would one day come and show us favor by giving many peoples a right standing with God (Gen 12:3; 15:6; Gal 3:8). The offspring of Judah would one day come and show us favor by establishing a plentiful kingdom (Gen 49:11). The offspring of David would one day come and show us favor by reigning with perfect peace (Isa 9:6).

And in comes Zechariah, only that his contribution moves us forward even closer to his coming. The word is spoken to them as if he’s already on his way (); and that’s big news for a people still sitting under the oppression of evil and still sitting in the guilt of their sins. We might compare it to the joy experienced at the Battle of Helms Deep in Lord of the Rings—when all seems lost, the people are on the brink of destruction as evil swarms, and then bursting from the east if the great white horse arrival. “Behold,” Zechariah tells them, “your King is coming for you.” God set him apart as their King. He is their hope, and though his coming be in a future day, the effects of his kingdom were worth celebrating in the present. The certainty of his victory was occasion to shout aloud with joy.

The Coming King’s Character

We’ll see some of those effects in a moment, but let’s look next at this King’s character—what’s he like? Lots of kings throughout history have come, but not many of them are worth rejoicing over. What will this King be like? Four things stand out…

The King Is Righteous

We’re told first in verse 9 that he is righteous. That’s a big deal for Israel to hear, especially coming out of the exile (cf. Isa 1:21; 5:7). You may recall that Israel’s kings didn’t have the greatest track record (e.g., 2 Chron 36:15-16). Even their best kings, like King David and King Josiah, had their own rebellious moments and their own lusts to deal with (e.g., 2 Sam 12; 2 Chron 35:20-27). None of them could sit on the throne and reign forever, because none of them were righteous on their own (Ps 14:1-3; Rom 3:9ff).

They were plagued with the same sin that characterized all born in Adam, and therefore each one of them died (Rom 5:12ff). You see, God has built into the fabric of this universe a moral standard based on his character—that is, righteousness. It’s required that all men live up to this moral standard, or you die. Not only did Adam fail in this regard, but we all failed in this regard. We have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23), and therefore none of us deserve to rule as we were made to rule (Gen 1:28; Ps 8:5-6; Heb 2:5-9). No, we all deserve death (Gen 3; Rom 5:12-14).

This King, however, would be different. This special King would himself be righteous (Zech 9:9). No impulse from within himself would desire to do anything other than please God. He would uphold God’s moral standard. He would obey God’s will fully. In mind, will, and emotion, this King would reflect God’s character perfectly on earth (cf. the same King in Isa 9:6-7; 11:1-5; 53:9).

And two weeks ago, Ben even pointed you to a picture of this King’s righteousness working itself out on earth. You may remember this from Jeremiah 23:5-6, “Behold, the days are coming…when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’”

This King’s righteousness wouldn’t be something that he kept only to himself; it would be a righteousness that he shares with others (cf. also Isa 53:11-12; Ezek 37:24-28). It would be a righteousness that spreads throughout the countryside and that fundamentally changes a lost people into a saved people, a vulnerable people into a secure people, a people who once boasted in their own works into a people who can only say, “the Lord is our righteousness.”

The King Is Victorious

Second, the King is also victorious. Verse 9 in the ESV describes him as “having salvation.” It’s difficult to get across in English, but there’s a passive idea in this word, implying that the King himself would be saved (cf. same verb form in Deut 33:29; Ps 33:16; Isa 45:17). Now, to say that this King is “saved” isn’t to say that he needed saving from sin. We just established that he was righteous.

Rather, it’s like saying that God would vindicate him. That is to say, because he is a King who obeys God completely, God chooses to save him, to vindicate him. And this is very similar to the descriptions we find elsewhere in Scripture of God vindicating his King for his obedience. We might think of Psalm 22 where the Davidic king is crying out for God to save him from his enemies—the King is faithful to God even in the face of affliction—and as a result God responds by rescuing his King (Ps 22:21). God vindicates him for his obedience (cf. also Ps 69:1-5, 29-36; 118:5-27).

So, for this King to be “saved,” is for him to be victorious. Salvation comes with this King because he’s the only one that God is pleased to vindicate. His obedience alone is worthy of honor and reward.

The King Is Humble

Third, verse 9 further describes this King as humble. That’s a good translation. It brings out the nature of his coming. Remember from earlier that this King shares such unity with God, that his coming is equivalent to God’s coming. For God to manifest his presence among sinful human beings shows a great deal of humility already. There’s no greater act of humility than when the God who dwells in unapproachable light stoops to come for sinful man.

But there’s even more bound up with this humility. The Hebrew can also be translated, “poor or afflicted.” And this further develops the kind of humility seen in this King. He doesn’t come for his people while clinging to the privileges of royalty. Rather, he trades his riches for rags. This word was already used of “the poor” back in 7:10—along with the widows, orphans and sojourner. This King becomes poor for the sake of his people.

The same word also appears in the Psalms where the Davidic King is afflicted for his obedience to God (Ps 22:24; 25:16; 69:29). And it seems that Zechariah is picking up on these earlier references and applying them to this coming King. His path of obedience will lead him to become poor and experience affliction. He will choose the uncomfortable road of suffering, if it means showing his people favor.

He Is Peacemaker

Finally, this King is also a peacemaker. It says that he comes “humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” There are times in the Bible when some kings would ride on donkeys. In fact, Genesis 49:11 envisions a king from Judah’s line who would bind his colt to the choicest vine—the idea being that his coming would establish an abundant kingdom on earth. That King of Genesis 49 seems to be this King, but we must note the significant contrast between verses 9 and 10.

The horse is mentioned in verse 10 as an instrument of war, not the donkey. The point in verse 9 is that this King will not come to make war against mankind—at least at this point in his coming—but to bring peace for mankind. He will not advance his kingdom with military power and violence—again, at this point in his coming—he will come with a peaceable mission.

The Coming King’s Mission

And that really leads us into our next look at what this king would actually do. We’ve looked at his arrival; we’ve seen his character. Now what will he accomplish? I’ll mention three things stand out in verses 10-11.

He will bring peace to all nations

First off, he will bring peace to all nations. Verse 10 says, “I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations.”

When we think of peace, many of us would likely describe peace as the absence of war. And we see this King doing that much by removing the people’s weapons. Isaiah looked to a similar day when swords would be turned into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks (Isa 2:4). But true peace includes much more than just the absence of war.

True peace has more to do with God blessing the world with his presence and perfect rule. So, yes, while the presence of this King will end all war, his presence will also create new realities among people that reflect God’s perfect rule on earth. Earlier in 8:12-14, we learned that there would be a future sowing of peace—peace would be scattered like seed and end up producing not just a plentiful land but an obedient people.

Unity is also included in this peace. You may remember that at one point in Israel’s history, Israel became a nation divided against itself. Israel was split into the northern and southern kingdoms, represented here by Ephraim and Jerusalem. But notice that these two names stand parallel to one another, suggesting that the King’s rule will establish unity once again in Israel. God’s covenant people would no longer be divided but made one (cf. Isa 11:13; Ezek 37:26-20).

And this peace wouldn’t be limited to Israel; God’s rule through this king would extend outward from Israel to encompass all peoples—“he shall speak peace to the nations.” Turbulent nations that devour one another and raise their fists against God will come under the omnipotent hush of this King. Notice that he doesn’t silence them with the sword, but with his word.

He will cover the earth with God’s rule

Which leads us to something else this King will do, namely, he will cover the earth with God’s rule. His rule will go beyond the borders of the Promised Land to encompass all peoples. Verse 10 says that “his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” God will grant this King total dominion.

The exact same language appears in Psalm 72:8. Psalm 72 is a prayer, asking God to give justice to his anointed King in David’s line. And every request has something to do with that future King so exercising God’s righteousness on earth that everything prospers, the poor are lifted up, the arrogant are destroyed, and all the nations come to worship this King till the whole earth is filled with the glory of God.

Right in the middle of that Psalm we get the same sentence we see here—only it’s spoken as a prayer: “May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah is saying that God will answer that prayer by sending this King to rule. The King prayed for in Psalm 72 is the King promised in Zechariah 9. Can you imagine crying for centuries—that prayer was written in Solomon’s day—imagine crying for years for God to give the earth this King, and then God answering with a word from his prophet: “He is coming, dear ones, and all peoples will experience God’s rule on earth through him.”

He will liberate prisoners on the basis of a new covenant

One more thing that he’ll do: he will liberate prisoners on the basis of a new covenant. Verse 11, “As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.”

Now, a waterless pit refers to the empty cisterns that the nations would use to put someone in captivity. They were designed to capture rain water, but hey they double up as a nice prison if you don’t like somebody. So at times the nations would put Israelites in these pits during the exile (e.g., Jer 2:13; 38:6; Isa 24:22).

Zechariah is using this pit as a symbol of exile; it’s a reminder of their captivity under God’s hand of judgment (e.g., Isa 42:7). And in some sense it shows them once again that their exile really isn’t over all the way. Yes, they’ve returned from to the land, but that was just the first stage in their rescue from exile. Other things still had to happen if they were going to experience true liberation.

You see, other enemies still held them captive—enemies that are far worse than pagan nations. Babylon might have been able to put them in a pit; but it’s their own sin that would put them in hell. Enemies like sin and death still loomed over their souls. But what God is promising here is their final deliverance from that captivity.

And he will do this on the basis of the blood of my covenant with you. The only way that God could relate to sinful people was through the shedding of blood. So on several occasions, he sealed his covenants with blood. This is especially the case in Exodus 24:8, where this same expression appears. Moses ratifies the law-covenant with Israel, by sprinkling the people with blood.

The only problem is that Israel couldn’t ever keep their end of the covenant. Again and again they failed—the exile was evidence of that. They deserve God’s curse, not his blessing. Therefore, God’s commitment to save the captives seems to press us forward to another and more permanent covenant, one Hebrews 13:20 calls the blood of the eternal covenant, or even the covenant mentioned by Jesus at the Last Supper (e.g., Matt 26:28). Zechariah seems to envision a day when better blood would be spilled in association with this King’s coming; and the shackles of sin and death would be shattered once and for all.[2. Another reason I believe this looks forward to a better and new covenant is that "daughter of Zion" and "daughter of Jerusalem" have already become a symbol of God's end-time people encompassing the remnant from both Israel and the nations, as seen even here by the Gentile remnant's inclusion in Zechariah 9:7b-8 just prior to calling out to Zion/Jerusalem in Zechariah 9:9 (cf. Gal 4:26; Heb 12:22). So the covenant seems to be one made with all of God's elect remnant, not just with ethnic Israel as was the case at Sinai. Moreover, the only other context outside Exodus 24 (or Hebrews 9:18, 20 where Exodus 24 is cited) wherein the exact expression "the blood of the covenant" appears is with Jesus establishing the new covenant in his blood at the Last Supper just before his death (Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; cf. 1 Cor 11:25; Heb 10:29; 12:24; 13:20).]

The King Is Jesus Christ

These are his reasons for all of Zion’s children to rejoice at this King’s arrival. He comes for their benefit to bring peace to the nations, to cover the earth with God’s rule, and to liberate them on the basis of a new covenant. There’s only King who has the character to actually accomplish all of this, and the New Testament says his name is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ alone fits the bill of Zechariah 9, folks. John says so himself in John 12:16, that these things were written about Jesus. Jesus is the one Matthew says rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to fulfill these words.

Read the eyewitness accounts of Jesus in the Gospels, and you will see that Jesus is the righteous King. Nobody can find any wrong in him, and at every turn he pleases God the Father in all he does (e.g., John 8:46; 18:23; 19:4). And that qualifies him to be the unblemished sacrifice we needed to be forgiven. His blood is better than what Moses sprinkled on the people, because his blood actually liberates from the power of sin and establishes a new covenant built on better promises (Matt 26:28; cf. Heb 9:18, 20). This is why he comes to proclaim good news to the poor and to proclaim release to the captives (Luke 4:18).

Read and you will find that Jesus is victorious. Yes, his earthly ministry ended in a bloody Roman crucifixion, where he seemed so helpless. But it was here that he was actually suffering by the will of God to cover your sins and avert the wrath of God (John 18:11; Rom 3:25). And we know this, because God heard his cries from Gethsemane, he heard his cry from the cross, and he saved his King by raising him from the dead three days later. And it’s because of that victory over sin and death, that God liberates sinners (Rom 4:25).

Read and you will find that Jesus is humble. He is one with God in essence, but distinct in person (John 1:1-3). He has rights as the Creator of the universe, and yet sets aside his rights to be seen as glorious and became poor for our sake (2 Cor 8:9). Indeed, he became afflicted—even to the point of death on a cross, where he died as a sacrifice in the place of sinners like you and me. Here’s the answer to how God cleanses us from our idolatry—Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness (Lev 16:19; 1 John 1:9). Here’s the answer to how a guilty remnant can enter God’s presence unscathed by his holy wrath—Jesus humbles himself beneath the wrath of God. He came from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, that we might have a relationship with God.

Read and you will find that Jesus is a peacemaker. Paul says that through his death, Jesus brings us both peace with God and peace with one another (Rom 5:1; Eph 2:11-21). Jesus tore down the dividing wall of hostility, so that even Gentiles like you and me might become part of God’s covenant people. Ephesians 2 says that Jesus came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; and right now Jesus is spreading that same peace worldwide through the preaching of the cross.

Of course, we must admit that not everything mentioned in Zechariah 9 has been accomplished just yet. We can say with confidence that this King has truly come, when Jesus mounted a donkey’s colt and rode into Jerusalem. But what do we make of him spreading God’s rule from sea to sea?

Well, we must say that the ultimate fulfillment awaits a second coming. The New Testament helps us see that the prophets often spoke about the end times as one collage of events without indicating how far apart the fulfillment of those events would be. Some people have illustrated this by referring to “the mountain peaks of prophecy.” If you’ve ever traveled to see mountains, there are occasions when from one perspective a whole mountain range can look like a single mountain, and you can’t really discern how far apart all the ridges really are.

I experienced this in Turkey last week. Here’s a picture of the one I saw [Image 1], Mount Erciyes. From this perspective, it all looks like one big mountain. You can still see that there are different peaks on the way up that mountain, but you can’t make out how far apart they are as you can from this perspective [Image 2]. The first image illustrates a prophet’s perspective—he sees the mountain peaks of future events, but can’t really tell how far apart they are. As Christians, we believe the New Testament helps explain the development of those future events.

In this case, we’ve seen the King humble and mounted on a donkey; we’ve experienced a new covenant established in his blood; we hear him speaking peace to the nations in the preaching of the gospel; but we have yet to see the fullness of his kingdom arrive. That will come in due time.

In fact, we must say that the coming of his final kingdom in glory is just as certain as his first coming in humility. His first coming is evidence that God is faithful to his word. He sent his King just as he said he would. The same will be true of him extending God’s rule from sea to sea. His promises are Yes and Amen in Jesus Christ.

Citizens of Christ’s kingdom can truly rejoice

Which means that we have every reason to rejoice. Christians can truly rejoice in the coming of Jesus. If you’re not a Christian, you really have nothing to rejoice in. Apart from a relationship with Jesus, you’re only storing up wrath for yourself with every day that passes. But you don’t have to stay there. Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, and you too will be able to rejoice with us in this King.

His coming means that all of Christ’s followers can truly rejoice. Now, that call to rejoice doesn’t ignore the present pain of this world, any more than God was ignoring the pain Israel experienced in Zechariah’s day. It was partly because of their pain that he gave them this hope in the first place. Even the angel of the Lord cried out in chapter 1 over their desperate situation—“God, how long?!”

Don’t we know that cry too?—“How much longer, God?!” Friends and family members still die. Cancer and diabetes and migraines and chronic fatigue still frustrate you and make you miserable. Abortion clinics are open across town while we gather here. The devil still roams around like a roaring lion. Your flesh still tempts you. The creation is still groaning with earthquakes and famine and floods.

How do we rejoice with this pain all around? God! God pierces through the dark clouds of our despair and gives his people the light of a King. Unlike some other religions, we don’t find joy by pretending the pain is not there. We weep over the real state of our broken world, but we do not weep without hope. Rather, we find joy by seeing that Jesus Christ is the answer to every longing we feel for freedom and peace.

The King has come, folks. He has come to bring our freedom and our peace. He has come to begin the work of a new creation. He just came first in a way to guarantee that sinners like you and me would actually get to join him in it. He came first in humility, that we might join him in glory. Our worst fear—death under the wrath of God—is behind us; our greatest enemy is defeated; and we belong to the King whose kingdom will swallow the earth. Already he has come. Already he is reigning. Already he is speaking peace to the nations. And, even though we suffer the pain of the not-yet, the already is cause for singing even with tears and knots lodged in our throat. As citizens of Christ’s kingdom, we can truly rejoice.

Citizens of Christ’s kingdom can display his humility

And in our rejoicing, we can also display Christ’s humility. We have the incredible privilege of mirroring to the world what our King is like. If Jesus’ rule is characterized by humility, then it’s incumbent on us to follow in his humility (cf. Phil 2:1-10; 1 Pet 2:21). Being it’s the Christmas season, I thought the words of J. I. Packer were rather fitting for us to hear in light of our King’s humility. He writes…

We talk glibly of the ‘Christmas spirit,’ rarely meaning more by this than sentimental jollity on a family basis. But what we have said makes it clear that the phrase should in fact carry tremendous weight of meaning. It ought to mean the reproducing in human lives of the temper of him who for our sakes became poor at the first Christmas. And the Christmas spirit itself ought to be the mark of every Christian all the year round.

It is our shame and disgrace today that so many Christians—I will be more specific: so many of the soundest and most orthodox Christians—go through this world in the spirit of the priest and the Levite in our Lord’s parable, seeing human needs all around them, but (after pious wish, and perhaps a prayer, that God might meet those needs) averting their eyes and passing by on the other side. That is not the Christmas spirit. Nor is it the spirit of those Christians—alas, they are many—whose ambition in life seems limited to building a nice middle-class Christian home, and making nice middle-class Christian friends, and bringing up their children in nice middle-class Christian ways, and who leave the submiddle-class sections of the community, Christian and non-Christian, to get on by themselves.

The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob. For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor…to enrich their fellow humans, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others—and not just to their own friends—in whatever way there seems need (Knowing God, 63-64).

“The Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor…to enrich their fellow humans.” What might that look like? Well, if we are parents, it starts with not viewing ourselves as too high above our children. We get down on their level. We actually consider their interests as better than our own, and look for ways to serve them. The home provides us with moment-by-moment opportunities to make the humility of our King shine.

Or, if you’re a man, consider the affront that Jesus’ humility is to the world’s vision of manliness. Our culture normally associates manliness with the power to get what you want when you want it at the expense of others. The world equates strength with domination. But what do we find in the one who is truly righteous? He is King of the world, and yet he stoops to serve the world. He doesn’t assert his power at the expense of others; he uses his power to serve and to save others.

Or consider how the humility of our King informs the way we go about our mission in the face of things like Islamic Jihadism. Unlike Islamic Jihadism, Christianity should not advance the gospel by taking the lives of others. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world and its success does not depend on physical strength or military power. Christ’s kingdom advances through spiritual means—like compassionate gospel preaching and suffering in the path of enemy-love.

Or, maybe consider what humility looks like with your neighbors in this city. Humbling ourselves will mean looking for opportunities to serve them. It will mean leaving the comforts of your home to meet them, or perhaps inviting them into your home to feed them. Humility will mean taking up the life of another—with all its needs and messiness—and making it our own.

Those are just a few examples, but wherever you may be this morning, growing in humility will not come merely by looking at yourself, or even by merely changing a few behaviors. Growing in humility will only come with taking long looks at Christ and learning to rejoice in the ways he has come for you.

Citizens of Christ’s kingdom can announce peace to others

Finally, many of us will be gathering with family members and friends this week for Christmas, and many of these occasions provide excellent opportunities to share Christ. As fast as news gets pushed around social media, and as fast as people publish their solutions, it’s very likely that you will have an open door to speak about how Christ is our only hope for true and lasting peace.

The Syrian refugee crisis, the coalition against ISIS, tensions with Russia, the heated exchanges between candidates running for president—people are talking about these headlines, and only rarely do they have good solutions, and even the good ones either wouldn’t last very long or wouldn’t pass legislation. What a great opportunity to point them to the rock-solid confidence that people can have in Jesus to establish peace. Take them to Zechariah 9 and show them how Jesus will disarm the nations.

Or perhaps the tensions and division isn’t just something out there in the news, but you will experience it in the living room and at the table with close relatives. Again, this is a great opportunity to look to Christ. If he’s able to disarm the nations and spread God’s rule from sea to sea, he can handle the tensions in your family. Pray for him to bring the peace that surpasses all comprehension into the lives of those you interact with, and let’s hold out great hope this coming King be the cause of their rejoicing too.

More in Zechariah: Return & Restoration

March 20, 2016

Holy to the Lord

March 13, 2016

The Return of the King

March 6, 2016

A New Covenant through a Struck Shepherd