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Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Today’s Scripture Reading | Zechariah 2:10–11
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. (NRSV)
Query: How many Old Testament passages foretell the coming of a messiah?
Putting this question to Google reveals that there is little consensus among biblical scholars and editors, some saying the number is as much as 500; today’s passage from Zechariah is usually among them.
Zechariah, who lived in the time when Jerusalem was being rebuilt, was a priest as well as a prophet, something usual for that time. He saw the need for priests in the purposes of God; he helped to prepare the way for the understanding of Christ as both priest and prophet. But the great spiritual truth that has been the message of Zechariah concerns the coming messiah. No Old Testament prophet more clearly expresses the messianic hope or gives more accurate descriptions of what is to come. See, for example, Zechariah 9:9: “Your king is coming, mounted on a donkey.” Such passages in Zechariah have been essential in the preaching and the faith of Christians throughout the ages.
In today’s reading, Zechariah not only declares to us the good news, he also instructs us as to how we should respond: “Sing for joy and be glad.” One of the beauties of the Advent and Christmas seasons is music; we enjoy great masterworks, choirs of trained voices, and the excitement and joy expressed in the voices of young children. And as the congregation joins in singing carols and hymns, there is a blend of song from those with beautiful voices and those of us who can only make a joyful noise. But we are all celebrating the good news; singing brings us together. In those moments we truly are a community.
Heavenly Father, we give thee thanks for the wisdom of the prophets of old and for the gift of music to celebrate the good news they bring. Amen.
Written by Barlow Nelson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
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