Good morning, my name is Matt Lubratt and I'm the Youth Pastor here at Renovation Church.
Go ahead and grab your Bibles and turn to Zechariah chapter 9 and also pull up the Renovation Church app and go to Summer services. There will be 2 maps that will help us at the very beginning, so go ahead and get to Zechariah chapter 9 and pull up the app.
I’ll meet you there in a moment.
It probably goes without saying, but our world is crazy, it seems like there is chaos everywhere, evil everywhere, there's suffering. And just to make sure that this was still true, this weekend I logged onto CNN and Fox News to do some research. And I am happy to report my findings: as of this week, there is still a lot of chaos in the world, there is still a lot of evil in the world. So, if you’re unaware, it’s still out there.
But forreal, over the last few years we've witnessed political tension, the poor are suffering, countries are at war or on the verge of war. Our world is a mess…
And if you're anything like me, maybe you frequently fall into the trap of believing that this world is our home. That somehow, we're going to live on this planet forever. And because we think we are going to live here forever, our plans and our worries about this life and this world consumes our thinking and we think about this life more than we think about eternity.
And that perspective, that this world is our home, brings fear, anxiety, and worry. Because Satan wants us to forget about God’s eternal plan, he wants us to live in fear. But God doesn't want that for us. God wants us to have peace amidst the craziness of the world because he has control over it. God wants us to have peace in the midst of the world, because he is over it. And one day he will destroy the evil in our world once and for all. That's our hope as Christians.
This morning, we are continuing in our summer series through the book of Zechariah. We are in week 9 so we are in chapter 9.
Text: Zechariah 9
And as a quick preview. In this prophecy, we are going to see three future time periods from the time that this was written, so keep an eye out for where the transitions between the 3 future periods we will see in Zechariah chapter 9. Let’s start in verse 1.
So, here in Zechariah chapter 9, the prophet Zechariah is receiving this prophecy from God. And like I mentioned a moment ago, there are three different times mentioned here in chapter 9 and we just read the first one.
This first part of the prophecy is about the destruction that the Lord will bring upon Judah’s enemies. Looking back in history, this has already happened. So, this is in the future for Zechariah, but in the past for us. God used Alexander the Great to carry out this destruction. Zechariah was written in about 520 BC and Alexander the Great went on his historic global conquest in 333 BC. And it was a fierce conquest. Alexander the Great and his army conquered the known world in just 13 years. They covered 3000 miles and just took over the world from Greece to India. And the crazy thing about his conquest was just how fast it was. 13 years doesn't sound like a lot but he and his army took over the world.
So, to Zechariah and this remnant of Judah, this is a prophecy for 200 years in the future. And this is interesting, this is where the maps come in. Go ahead and pull up the first map in the app if you have it ready. And what you’ll see is a large-scale view of Alexander the Great’s conquest in 333 BC. You can see it spans from Greece to India.
Now, if you look at the second photo, it is a zoomed-in map on Judah. The map doesn’t have all of the cities mentioned in chapter 9, but it has a few for us to see a pattern.
In this part of the Middle East, Damascus fell to Alexander the Great first, then Tyre and Sidon, then Ashdod, then Ashkelon, then Gaza and all the way along the coast to Egypt. And this exactly happens about 200 years later, Alexander and his army went city to city, conquering everyone.
God used Alexander the Great to carry out his judgment on Judah’s enemies for their sin and cruelty during Judah’s exile.
And this is where we see God’s providence over history. He says in verse 8, “never again will an oppressor overrun my people.” Jerusalem was in the war path of Alexander the Great in 333 BC. The Macedonians passed Jerusalem on their conquest down to Egypt and passed them again on their way North back up the coast to India. God protected and deterred this fierce army from conquering his people. God promised that it wouldn’t happen again, and he kept his promise.
In fact, if you’re a fan of history, and especially war history, I encourage you to read about Alexander the Great’s encounter with Jerusalem. If true, it is absolutely fascinating how God protected his people from such a fierce conqueror (but that would be another rabbit hole).
And before we go back to the passage, I want you to keep this image of Alexander the Great and his brutal and swift war to conquer the world. There is an important parallel that we will see later in the passage.
Transition: Let’s pick up in verse 9. Where we see the second time period.
Read v.9 AND Matthew 21:1-5
We can go back to Zechariah, its such a fascinating quote, a fascinating fulfillment of prophecy. Ok, so here in Zechariah verse 9, we are in the second time period of this prophecy. The first time period was 333 BC with Alexander the Great and this time period is the first century with Jesus that we see in Matthew 21.
Zechariah is talking about Jesus, the coming messiah. And as followers of Jesus, we are to rejoice! We are to praise and be glad because Jesus was riding on a donkey…
Wait a minute, what’s so cool about that? That sounds kinda lame. That would be like Jesus pulling up in a 2014 Toyota Corolla. I mean it's a reliable car, but nothing to hoot and holler about!
Well, in the Ancient Near East, it was common for a king who was coming in peace to ride on a donkey instead of a horse - because a horse signified war.
So here in Zech 9/Mt 21, Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey signifies that at his first coming, Jesus came in peace. And that’s contrary to Alexander the Great who came before him with war!
Jesus, in his first coming did not come to make war, he did not come to free Judah from Roman oppression, he came to make peace between God and man.
You want to know why our world is so messed up and evil? It’s because of us, it’s because of other people, it’s because of the wickedness of the human heart. And humans and our wicked hearts are at war with God. But 2000 years ago, Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on the donkey. He came riding in peace, towards us, his enemies.
And through his life, death, burial, and resurrection he has made a way for man to be at peace with God. He made a way through his blood, that we could be forgiven of our sins and brought back into a peaceful relationship with God.
And we cannot make peace with God ourselves, without Jesus.
This prophecy in Zechariah is calling King Jesus the victor, it says v.9 - “See! Your king comes to you righteous and victorious.” At the cross, Jesus was mocked and given the crown of thorns, but he wore that crown as a king, as a victor. And when he rose from the dead he rose as the victor over sin and death, and a victor over the current order of this world.
This world has no power over Christ the Victor
Although this world seems scary and full of evil, it's important for us to know that it has no power over Christ the victor and his people.
Application: Maybe you are fearful. You are fearful about the state of our world, you are fearful about our schools, you are fearful about the economy, you just live in a constant state of fear. And I’m not discounting the fact that there are real issues in our world that we as Christians should be aware of and face head on as leaders.
I’m talking about a fear that goes down to the core of who you are, you are just scared. And to you, I want you to know, deep down, that if you are in Christ, you are victorious with Christ the victor.
And if you have put your faith in Christ, this world has no power over you anymore.
Jesus won at the cross:
Sin could not conquer him, and death could not hold him. And so those of us who serve the victor we are called to rejoice!
We are called to be joyful, because we are not like non-believers.
It makes sense that non-believers live in fear, because they don’t have hope for eternal life. They don’t have an assurance about the direction the world is going. Apart from Christ, there is no legitimate hope, because this is all there is.
But if you are in Christ, you don’t have to live in fear. You can live with a peace that only comes from the Prince of Peace, and you can have hope, because that victor is coming back, and he’s coming back to put an end to evil, once and for all.
Transition: So, this is where we are right now. You and I are living after verse 9. And people can come to Jesus to make peace between them and God. Let’s continue reading in verse 14.
So, this is all imagery of the second coming of Jesus. The first time period was 333 BC with Alexander the Great, then v.9 was the first century with Jesus, and now this 3rd time period is sometime in the future when Jesus comes back. There are many views on when, in regards to the tribulation and the end times, this will happen, but what we know for sure, is that when Jesus comes back, he is coming with vengeance.
In Revelation it tells us that when Jesus comes back he is coming with war against Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet. It’s like the evil trinity, he's coming with war. And he is coming with war against those who rebel against God in their sin.
II. Jesus came first with peace. Next time he is coming with war.
Just like Jesus’ first coming, his second coming will be visible and physical. Jesus is literally coming back and the whole world will see him. But this time, instead of a donkey - signaling peace, he is coming on a war horse. He is coming to put an end to wickedness and sin.
Jesus, at his first coming, came in humility to make a way for us to be at peace with God through his death on the cross and his resurrection.
And right now, in this age, people can come to Jesus and be saved, they can come to Jesus through faith and be freed from their fear, freed from their sin. And they can enjoy the eternal worth of a relationship with Christ the Victor.
However, if people reject this message and they continue in their sin, in their evil, in their rebellion. Then to them, Jesus is coming back like Alexander the Great. He will come with a fierce conquest, a quick conquest like Alexander the Great. Revelation 19 says that just by His words he will strike down the armies of the world. And I believe that is literal. Jesus is going to win and the enemy has no chance. And from that victory, Jesus is going to set up his kingdom (fulfillment of v.8) and it will never be overthrown.
And verse 16-17 is so beautiful.
Jesus is the good shepherd, and if you have put your faith in Jesus, you are now a part of his flock. And we will be with Christ forever and ever on the new heaven and new earth and we will live in paradise with Christ our victor.
That’s not to say that we won’t face hardships or trials in this life, but we don’t have to be fearful about the way our world is going because this is not our home. If you are in Christ, your home is with him. And he’s going to give us an eternal home free from evil and free from sin. Because he conquered it, and one day, he is going to come back and destroy sin and evil once and for all.
So, speaking of Christ the Victor coming to make peace between man and God. I want to call up our baptism team, because this morning we are going to celebrate a baptism at this service. I’m sure we would all love to get baptized right now to get in that pool.
Baptisms are a visual reminder that Christ the Victor has made peace between man and God through his life, death, burial, and resurrection. By his blood that was spilled on the cross, we can be forgiven and made clean through faith.
Baptism is a symbol of what happens when a person believes in Jesus. They go down in the water and it symbolizes them dying with Christ, and when they rise up, it’s a symbol of their sins being washed away as they enter new life with Jesus.
Baptism does not save us, we are only saved through faith, but it is an important step of obedience and an important symbol of God’s love for us, that he made a way for peace, through his son.
Every person that gets baptized at Renovation Church is baptized by a sponsor (people who have had a spiritual impact on them.)
And before we do the baptism we get the privilege of hearing their testimonies.
So I want to invite up…
9:00: Vail Morgan and Taylor Larson
10:15: Daniel Wright and Leslie Fliegelman
11:30: Sunny Dery
Amen, those were powerful stories. People meeting Jesus, the victor, the prince of peace. The one who made peace for us through his work on the cross.
And this morning, I’m sure there are some of you who are crippled with fear. You are so fearful of the world we live in, and it’s paralyzing. And maybe you connected with some of these testimonies. And I want you to know that this morning, you can know the one who has overcome the world, who has already been victorious, Christ the Victor.
And so this morning if you need to meet Jesus, the one who has come with humility and peace. Then don’t wait any longer and trust in Jesus. Because he already paid for your sins on the cross and he is welcoming you into a life with him, a life of spiritual victory, a life free of fear.
So if that’s you, if you have trusted in Christ this morning, please, after the service in a moment, come talk to myself and the follow-up team by the stage, and we would love to give you next steps.
Copyright: Matt Lubratt
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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