By Horatius Bonar
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle-bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the heathen; and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth." -- Zechariah 9:9,10
IT is over a wide span of time and history that these two verses stretch. They predict the scenes of Messiah's first and second comings. There is a long, long interval between the events of the ninth verse and those of the tenth. The former has been already fulfilled (and that how literally!),--eighteen centuries ago; the latter yet waits to be fulfilled. The former is a glimpse of Messiah's humiliation, the latter of his exaltation, and power, and glory. He came the first time to be despised and rejected of men; He comes the second time to triumph and to reign. Jerusalem has seen his lowliness, it is yet to see his majesty. It has witnessed his cross, it is yet to behold his throne.
Let us note here, (1.) Jerusalem's joy; (2.) Jerusalem's King; (3.) Jerusalem's glory.
I. Jerusalem's joy. Zion and Jerusalem are the two different parts of the one city,--the city of the great King. It is the inhabitants or daughters of this twofold city that are here summoned to "rejoicing" and "shouting," to "great" rejoicing, and to the loud utterance of it. To gladness and shouting is the city called by God. It is "the joyous city." Babylon may mourn, but Zion must rejoice. Egypt may howl, Jerusalem must shout. They who have received Messiah are inhabitants of no mean city. To them belongs the heavenly Jerusalem, the everlasting Zion. Their citizenship is in heaven. They are not yet in the city, but they are looking for it. And the prospect of it is enough to make them rejoice and shout. O Christian, be glad. Be not of a heavy heart. He who believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and the citizen of the joyous city.
II. Jerusalem's King. It is written elsewhere, "Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King" (Psalm 149:2). So here. Let us take each of the words relating to the King, in order.
(1.) Behold. It is the prophet speaking to his fellow-citizens, it is the Holy Spirit turning our eyes to Jesus. "Behold!" See this great sight. What is there on earth to be compared to it.
(2.) Thy King. Jerusalem has a King. He is "the great King," "King of kings," "King of Israel," "King of nations," "Prince of the kings of the earth." His name is Jesus of Nazareth. He is "the Word made flesh," God-man, "Emmanuel, God with us." She is now kingless. She has no David, no Solomon, no Hezekiah. Yet to her really belongs a King,-- greater than all the kings of earth, "THY King."
(3.) Cometh. He was long "the coming one," now he is "come." For four thousand years the promise spoke of his coming. Now he comes at length! He tarries no longer. His feet tread our earth. His eyes look on our hills and skies.
Bethlehem receives him Nazareth gives him a home. Bethany welcomes. Jerusalem shouts hosanna at his approach. But he has left! He is not now here. He is now "the coming One" again. And he may soon be here. Behold he cometh!
(4.) Unto thee. Yes; specially to thee. Jerusalem is to reject him, to crucify him. He knows this, but he comes to her. O sinner, he comes to thee and he bids thee come to him. He stands not afar off, he comes nigh.
(5.) Just and having salvation. A just God and a Saviour. Just and the Justifier. The Saviour and the Justifier, because he is the Just One. He came with a righteous salvation for unrighteous men. He presents that righteous salvation still. It is salvation to the uttermost. He is mighty to save, he is just to save! He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Oh good news. The righteous One loveth the unrighteous. Jesus Christ the righteous came into the world to save sinners.
(6.) Lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. He is meek and lowly; and even when he comes to Jerusalem in triumph, he shews his meekness by the way in which he comes. No troops of soldiers; no guards; no procession; no banners waving! No chariot, no war horse! He rides upon an ass, and alongside there is the colt, just as they were found, unprepared and unadorned. He is at once the loftiest and the lowliest of the sons of men. None ever came from such a height, or went down to such a depth. In birth, and life, and death he was alike the lowly One. May he not well say, then, "Come unto me," and "learn of me." He is distant to none. He repulses none. Even to the little ones he says, "Suffer them to come to me." In word, and look, and action, he is infinitely attractive to all. No one needs to dread him, nor to stand aloof in suspicion or distrust. O sinner, come and learn of this lowly one. He will give you rest. O Christian, trust Him more. Do not misinterpret him or do him injustice. Give Him thy fullest confidence, in spite of all the evil, and the darkness, and the folly that are in thee. Keep ever near his side. Look at him, love him, speak to him, trust him. Does he frown? Does he turn away? Nay, he bids thee welcome; and the more thy dealings are with him, the more welcome. He thus gets opportunities for bringing out his stores.
III. Jerusalem's glory. The first feature of this glory is the cessation of war, and the destruction of all the implements of war, chariot, horse, and battle-bow. No more of these. Jerusalem is now the city of peace, the true Salem. But there is peace to the heathen too: he speaks peace to them,-- "peace to them that are afar off." The sound of peace goes out from Salem to the whole world. Jerusalem is now a quiet habitation; peace is in all her borders; the heathen share it; and universal dominion now belongs to Zion's King. The earth is his as well as Jerusalem. He is King of kings. As yet this has not been fulfilled. Satan still roams and reigns. The kingdoms of this world are still unchristian or antichristian.
But the vision will not lie. Jesus is coming the second time to fulfil these words. He fulfilled the ninth verse at his first coming, he is to fulfil the tenth at his second. He comes as King as well as Saviour. He comes not only to judge, but to reign. He comes to end all war; to bind Satan; to smite antichrist; to renew creation; to rebuild Jerusalem; to restore Israel; to convert the nations; to reign in peace as earth's righteous King. His dominion shall be as universal as it is everlasting. His kingdom is that which cannot be moved. Then shall be the long expected reign of righteousness and peace.