This week it has been good to focus on joy. We need joy to rule our hearts, and not to give in to what our circumstances and feelings might otherwise demand. The joy we’ve read about this week in our Advent passages has described the joy of knowing Jesus Christ and placing Him first in our lives.
Zechariah was a prophet to the Jews who returned from exile in Persia to Jerusalem. The temple was not yet rebuilt, and the construction often halted. Zechariah encouraged the people to not give up, to trust the Lord to rebuild them as a nation, and that the long-awaited Messiah King would come.
Have you ever felt discouraged in recent days that your work or your relationships or something else important was just too hard for you to work at? I imagine that’s how the Jewish people felt when they looked at their unfinished temple, longing for the glory of the old temple, and wondering if God would keep His promises to send the King.
Zechariah wanted to encourage the people, so he wrote what God told him to record for them.
Rejoice 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. (Zechariah 9:9, ESV)
Rejoice greatly. What might that look like? I imagine it was a lot like the people who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem the day He rode in on that colt. They cried out with excitement, they cheered; they threw their coats on the dirty ground for Jesus to ride over. Their joy reached a fever pitch as they cried out, “Come save!” Joy in seeing your King arrive would cause any of us to forget ourselves and join in the glad song of welcome that the Savior King is here!
We are like the Jews in Zechariah’s day. We are easily discouraged and lose sight of the promises of God. Yet, Advent is a time to remember that God’s promises are certain. Jesus rode into Jerusalem as our King. And if you read 2 more verses in Zechariah (chapter 9, verses 10-11), you’ll see that the prophecy that Jesus fulfilled by riding on the colt is not fully accomplished just yet. Some day, and maybe soon, the King will return to fully make right all the wrongs and reign from His throne here on earth. Again, we say, Come, gracious King! Rule in all our hearts and on Your throne.
Even now, let every heart prepare Him room.