In the 1930s, the Southern Plains region suffered an ecological disaster now called the “Dust Bowl.” Homesteading legislation had brought inexperienced farmers, incentivized by land ownership, into the region, and they had responded to the demand for European grain by plowing up the grasslands to use for farming. But without the grasslands to hold the topsoil in place (and with severe drought), the region became an agricultural wasteland for a decade.
Before God’s people were exiled into foreign lands, they experienced God’s judgment in the form of military invasion as well as ecological disaster. They suffered war at the hands of their enemies; they also faced drought and famine, plague and pestilence. God cursed their land as a means of returning them to Himself, but they did not mourn the absence of God—only His gifts. “They do not cry out to me from their hearts, but wail on their beds. They slash themselves, appealing to their gods for grain and new wine, but they turn away from me” (Hosea 7:14). Even ecological disaster did not produce repentance. But after seventy years of exile, God returned His people to the land, and He also returns vegetation to the fields—grain and new wine, as examples (9:17). These were signs of Israel’s renewal and God’s relenting love.
In the book of Zechariah, focused on the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, we’ve witnessed that the installation of the high priest, Joshua (6:9–15), as well anticipated the coming of a great king (9:9–13). The Gospel of Matthew helps us to understand that Zechariah’s royal prophecy finds fulfillment in Jesus Christ (9:9; Matt. 21:19). When Jesus entered Jerusalem less than a week before His crucifixion, mounted on a donkey, He was heralded as a coming king. Our ultimate hope is in Him.
Jesus’ ministry is described by three different “offices.” As prophet, Jesus speaks the word of God faithfully; as priest, He intercedes for the people, offering His own body as atonement for their sins; as king, He reigns over all the world, putting God’s enemies under His feet. Take time today to worship Jesus as Prophet, Priest, and King.