Sunday, 5 July 2015

Glimpses of the Messiah - Zechariah 12 & 13 - Part II

The chunk ends in 13:7 - 9 with a poem. Curiously this poem could apply to Israel before it was attacked by Babylonians, in other words pre-dating all the stuff we have looked at in Zechariah so far. The foreign attack would then be the 'striking the shepherd', and the exile the scattering of the people.

Yet we now read it understanding Jesus as the shepherd, and the disciples then fled. The Gospel writers understood it that way (see Matthew 26:31, 56). John writes up Jesus as claiming to be the good shepherd who would lay down his life (John 10:14 - 18). This is not the first time we have seen double meaning in Zechariah, with a meaning in the original context plus sight of the bigger purposes of God.

That raises an interesting question - did the original readers, with all these prophecies (plus pointers in the Psalms, in Deuteronomy and so on) ever recognise the Messiah when he actually came? Or did they miss out?

Which means we must ask ourselves do we recognise what God is doing, His bigger purposes? Many now believe the Church in the West is in transition, a multi-decade process where the way we 'do church' is adapting, led by the Spirit to fresh thinking. Here in Ely we must ask ourselves how do we fit into that - how do we organise ourselves to 'Take Kingdom Life Across the City'?

For this we need to be seeking Jesus, and continually discerning as a whole church. Hence the key question and challenge pair:

[IN] How is God shaping us as a church?
Challenge: Pray with another for the life of the church

Verse 9 of the poem talks of refining and testing His people. We need to be open to that same process, confident that through God's initiative (discussed in part I) that He works to give us the privilege of calling on His name ... so that (as per v9) in calling on God He can answer us "they are my people" and we can respond "The Lord is Our God"

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