Hope for the Future?

Today's Bible Reading: Zechariah 9:9-17

Throughout all of these centuries we have been taking a look at, it was natural that that the Jews would ask themselves: “Is God still king of the world?  Is He still our king?  How will His kingdom come?”  I’d like to share with you as we close a few of the ways that these kinds of questions were being answered:

1. During and after the Maccabean revolt, there were those who developed the vision of God coming with power to usher in His kingdom by overthrowing all the kingdoms of this world.  This movement, called apocalyptic - a Greek word meaning “to reveal” - pictured the final revelation of God's kingdom in a series of events which would mean the end of the world.  God would have to destroy this world and begin again!

2. The ruling priestly class - the Sadducees - simply adapted to the various people who ruled them.  But they never represented the common hopes of Israel, nor did they offer any real hope for the future restoration of God's kingdom.

3. The Pharisees thought that by obedience to the law they could speed up the coming of the kingdom.  Their obedience came to replace trust in God's mercy and power.

4. Others, like the people at qumran - where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found - separated themselves from the sins of the nation.  Out in the desert they prepared themselves for the final battle between the sons of light and the sons of darkness.

5. Still others - like the zealots - took to the sword … thinking that God's kingdom would come if the Romans could be chased out of the land.  But the struggle against Rome - which they began in AD 66 - ended with the absolute destruction of Jerusalem in 70.

Without these people realizing it … the kingdom of God did come!  The King - Jesus of Nazareth - came … bringing a kingdom not of political power - based not on human obedience - but on God's grace and mercy!

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, King of all kings, accept our joyful shouts of praise for Your saving work. Rule in our lives, now and always, that we may know the riches of Your heavenly grace and share it with others; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.