“Missions are the chief end of the Church… The chief end of the ministry ought to be to equip the Church for this. Each congregation is meant to be a training class.”

Andrew Murray

TODAY’S READING: Zechariah 9–14

We often isolate the beautiful passages of the coming of Jesus from their prophetic missionary context. Zechariah foretold that King Jesus would come lowly and riding on a donkey, that He would speak peace to nations and His dominion from sea to sea (Zech. 9:9–10). This beautiful picture of the universal reign of Jesus followed squarely after the Lord speaks through Zechariah of the destruction of Tyre, the one who had power in the sea (v. 4). For two centuries Tyre was the impregnable port of the Persians, their base to extend their empire over the Mediterranean nations. Tyre was an island city, impossible to attack from land. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great’s troops built a causeway 300 yards wide and half a mile long to the island. He captured Tyre, sold 30,000 citizens into slavery, and crucified 2,000 of the city-state’s leaders.

This gory context of a sea power humbled immediately preceded the prophecy of the Messiah who would come humbly to establish His reign over all nations, who would reign from sea to sea over mixed races of people who, cleansed from abominations, shall be for our God (v. 7). It is impossible to read the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry outside the context of nations being subdued by the Jesus the Great whose causeway to our heart was built with blood and crosses, not with stones and rubble. In fact, Jesus the Great will easily subdue the Greeks and all peoples; He will subdue by saving them, and they shall be like jewels in His crown (vv. 13, 16). I wonder how many in the crowd on Palm Sunday two millennia ago recalled Tyre, Alexander, and peace to all nations. My guess, not many. In the frenzy of their own hopeful excitement, they forgot that “us” must ever mean “all peoples.” Let us not make the same mistake when we gather to lift our praise to the coming King. In every church of every land, let praises be lifted inseparable from the understanding that Jesus must be crowned King of all peoples from sea to sea. Those who welcome Jesus enthusiastically for what He can do for them, outside the understanding His blessings are for all nations, are the first to egregiously turn on Him, sell Him for thirty pieces of silver, disappointed that He is a global God, not a personal genie (11:13).

Zechariah in the Spirit saw beyond the triumphal entry, past Judas’ betrayal, and past the resistance of the nations and the crucifixion (12:3, 10) to revival among His people. They will indeed look on Him who they pierced, and in that day, a fountain shall be opened for the house of David (13:1). Let’s remember that God’s promise to David was an eternal King, a gentle Shepherd who will bring His people through fire (v. 9), an awesome Potentate who would return to overcome all nations with glory (14:2–3). In that day, the Lord will be king over all the earth and all the nations shall worship with “holiness to the Lord” engraved on heads and hearts (14: 9, 16, 20). “Jesus shall reign where’er the sun does his successive journeys run, His kingdom stretch from shore to shore till moons shall wax and wane no more… Peoples and realms of ev’ry tongue dwell on His love with sweetest song; and infant voices shall proclaim their early blessings on His name.”[1]

[1] Watts Isaac. “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun.” http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/lyrics/tlh511.htm (accessed September 4, 2019).

Prayer Focus: Japan

Today’s Unreached People Group: Eurasian
Population: 126,000
Language: Japanese
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Evangelical: 1.5%
Estimated Workers Needed: 3

[Source: Joshua Project]

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