Pentecost 5 (Proper 9), July 5, 2020
Peace to the Nations
Zechariah’s prophecies happen perhaps around the time of the rebuilding and dedication of the temple. The people, exiles in captivity, have been working at the rebuilding for many years and have suffered various setbacks. Zechariah provides encouragement in the midst of these setbacks. He gives a picture of the humble Messiah, who will come to be with his people as their Shepherd. Though they are prisoners, they are also a people of hope—hope that will be manifested in the coming Messiah. They are to rejoice because he will grant them freedom, peace, and restoration.
One of the Bible’s sorriest chapters opens with one of its saddest verses. The story of David’s affair with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) begins with this note: “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war . . . ”
Deep tragedy lies in the assumption that this is the way of kings and princes. Come spring, soon as weather permits, they go out seeking battle and a chance to ravage.
We could, and often do, tell the history of our species as little more than the record of this deadly game that the powerful play, in which young men and women slaughter each other in the name of and for the cause of their kings, emperors, dictators, presidents, or their own selfish ends.
The latter chapters of Zechariah contain numerous visions of God’s putting the world right.
Some anticipate horrific violence as part of God’s action, while others seem nonviolent.
This material had significant impact on the varied messianic hopes of Zealots, Essenes, and Pharisees alike.
No popular messianism of Jesus’ day anticipated that a publicly condemned and crucified individual could be the Messiah of Israel.
In short, the ancients faced the same dilemma that confronts every age, including our own: what sort of messiah promises true and genuine peace for all nations?
Each generation contributes to the machinery and language of warfare. Ours is no exception. We have added a vast array of technology and vocabulary to the long tale of war, what with Scuds and MIGs posed against Smart Bombs, AWACS, Stealth, and Cruise.
V 9: “Rejoice greatly . . . shout!” This call to be in a state or attitude or feeling of joy and rejoicing is an odd imperative to proclaim in the midst of captivity.
Daughters are "weak" dependent upon the father - vulnerable, need protection and support.
Marginalized people - now and then
Righteous - Victorious & Rightful/True King!
Supported by YHWH
Stricken, smitten and afflicted
Donkey is what you would EXPECT the King to ride on (not a horse!)
The true donkey riding King is more powerful than any and all military tools and weapons!
PEACE is the result of the work of this true King on a donkey!
From "Sea to shining Sea!"
Shalom is NOT an absence of war rather it is a RESTORATION word!
As we pray the Second Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, Luther reminds us that “the kingdom of God comes indeed without our prayer, of itself, but we pray in this petition that it may come unto us also: How is this done? When our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead a godly life, herein time and hereafter in eternity.”
Peace to the Nations