“Behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey … his rule shall be from sea to sea…”. (Zechariah 9:9b-10b)
One popular early 1970’s Christian song contains the lyrics, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all heaven and earth proclaim, kings and kingdoms will all pass away but there’s something about that name.” Famous kings have famous names.
Some of the remarkable kings and their kingdoms are not mentioned in world history textbooks. Over the years of living in West Africa, I came to learn about some of the famous names of venerated pre-colonial kings—Sundiata Keita (13th cent. Mali kingdom), Osei Kofi Tutu (17th cent. Ashanti kingdom), Oba Oduduwa (8th cent. Yoruba kingdom), and Sonni Ali (15th cent. Songhai kingdom)—all men of great wealth, power, and fame, with extending influence over vast areas and populations of peoples. Kings have power. Kings exert influence over others. That’s just what kings do.
During the times of the prophet Zechariah (c. 520-480), Persia was the world power to be reckoned with. Persia’s king Darius reigned over his vast kingdom including the little enclave of Judah. Persia (under king Cyrus) had permitted the Jews who had been held in exile in Babylon to return to Judah and to start the reconstruction of the temple. So, during those days, God called Zechariah to encourage the returning Jews to push forward in their re-construction effort.
Zechariah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writes his prophetic words to the post-exilic citizens of Judah. He writes of a coming king—not the kind of king that nations normally follow and not a king who relishes pomp and power. No, Zechariah calls the Jews to be encouraged and to be emboldened by God’s promise of a humble messianic king who will right wrong, who will fight for his people, and whose upside-down kingdom one day will bring peace to the world.
Zechariah reminds us today, just as his words challenged Yahweh’s people in the 6th century BC, “Behold, your king is coming to you” (v. 9). His promise of a righteous and saving king, King Jesus, motivates us to announce good news to our world needing to hear that the King has taken up residence in His Kingdom on earth. There really is “something about that name,” King Jesus.
For reflection: When you stop and think of your life, is there evidence that a king has set up his kingdom in your life? Have you let THE King take over? How is Jesus’ reign currently evident in your life?
by Paul Sinclair