Have you ever wished that you could see the future? I’m not talking about looking through a crystal ball or reading palms, but rather seeing when things were going to happen, how they were going to happen, and what the result of all of that would be. We often become so concerned about the present that it becomes difficult for us to really focus on the future and where we are heading. Zechariah must have had that difficulty. He was able to see the glorious future of Israel, but every time he walked out his front door he was reminded of where Israel currently was.
Israel was not in a good place when Zechariah was ministering. As a matter of fact, he starts his book with a call to repentance. As was usual for Israel, they had wandered from the path and had allowed other things to replace the priority of God in their lives. Zechariah ministered after the exile, and so it is easy to see why people became disillusioned. Their home was not what it used to be, and some of them may have even remembered the glory days.
Zechariah was a prophet and a priest. It was his responsibility to lead the people in worship and to make sure that they stayed in the will of God. This was rarely an easy job. During one particularly restless night Zechariah had seven visions that dealt mostly with current events, but also hinted towards the future (1:17-6:15 of his book). His entire book points back towards the first chapter in seeking to get the people to repent and turn back to God.
But the most important thing that Zechariah does is point towards the Messiah. The book of Zechariah is sometimes referred to as a “mini-Isaiah”, because no other minor prophet talks more about the Messiah than Zechariah. Other minor prophets hint that a Messiah is coming with a kingdom, but Zechariah describes the Messiah’s kingdom in full detail. Nowhere else in the Old Testament, outside of Isaiah, do we see a more full and clear picture of who the Messiah is and what he will accomplish.
This is important because it shows us that while Zechariah is clearly planted in the present, he also has an eye towards the future. He sees what is going on around him, but he also realizes that it will not always be that way. Israel is lost and has been handed over to false shepherds who only take advantage of her (chapter 11), but there is coming a day when the true shepherd will appear and set everything right. The Messiah is coming, and when he does he will restore Israel and prosper her.
So why is this important for us? As I stated earlier, it becomes easy for us to become so focused on the present that we forget that there is a future hope. We become so focused on our own problems that we forget that the Messiah is coming, and when he does come nothing else will matter. When Jesus returns will it really matter how much money you have in the savings or what kind of car you are driving? Of course not! The only thing that will matter is his kingdom, and so that is all that should matter right now.
This is especially true with politics. Uh-oh, I’m about to go there. Some of us are so worried about politics and who is running our country that we have forgotten that we are Christians. We are citizens of another kingdom that is not of this world. Before I am American, I am a Christian. We like to say that but we don’t always live that way. I have gotten to the point to where I don’t care who is in the White House or any particular branch of government. A human-made system is destined to failure, no matter what political party is in charge. The only kingdom that actually works is the Kingdom of God.
Zechariah teaches us three very important things in his book. First, we must understand where we are and be willing to change. That is the entire point of repentance. Second, we must understand that our destiny is not determined by where we currently we are. We have a future and a hope that will never fade away. Third, our hope is only found in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. His kingdom will be one that will never fade away.
Zechariah is known as a minor prophet, but nothing that he says is minor. His book is full of wisdom and future hope. He speaks very plainly about the human condition and recognizes that there needs to be a change. His call to repentance is followed by visions of the present and future, and a revelation of the kingdom of the Messiah. The words of Zechariah are still an inspiration for the children of God today who eagerly await the glorious kingdom of Jesus Christ.