Zechariah preached to a discouraged audience. The returned exiles had traveled a great distance, labored in reconstructing the temple—done what they thought to be God’s will—only to experience opposition from those who had taken their place in Canaan (Ezra 4:1-5). Zechariah’s prophecies addressed the present situation of the remnant and established expectations of how God would deal with His people and the nations in the days to come. Jesus and the authors of the New Testament viewed Zechariah 7-14 within Scripture’s developing storyline, establishing precedents for God’s redemptive work in their day.
(1) In Zech 9:9, the prophet exhorted his listeners, saying, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Matthew and John cited Zech 9:9 in reference to Jesus as He triumphantly approached Jerusalem on His way to the cross (Matt 21:5//John 12:15).
(2) In Zech 9:11, the prophet noted that the Lord would release Israel’s captives in accord with the blood of her covenant. The themes of Jerusalem’s king and a covenant of blood in Zech 9:9-11 come together in the person of Jesus Christ. On the night of His final Passover celebration, Jesus told His disciples that the cup He was sharing with them was the cup of the new covenant established in His blood (Matt 26:28//Mark 14:24//Luke 22:20). The author of Hebrews repeatedly noted that Jesus’ blood instituted the new, everlasting covenant and forgiveness of sins (Heb 1:3; 7:26-28; 8:10-12; 9:12-14, 23-28; 10:10-18; 13:20-21).
(3) In Zech 11:4-17, the prophet described himself as a shepherd of Israel. As a faithful shepherd, Zechariah served as a foil for the ungodly and wicked shepherds of Israel. Because of the wickedness of the people, Zechariah abolished his covenant with them. Israel demonstrated her wickedness when she gave Zechariah only 30 pieces of silver for his service as a spiritual shepherd. The same greed was manifested in the Jewish leadership of Jesus’ day, those who measured out 30 pieces of silver for Judas to betray Jesus (Matt 26:14-16//Mark 14:10-11//Luke 22:3-6).
(4) In Zech 12:10, the prophet said, “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me whom they have pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn.” John noted Zechariah’s prophecy in describing the death of Christ, saying, “These things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled… ‘They will look at the One they Pierced’” (John 19:37). John repeated this theme in Revelation, saying, “Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, including those who pierced Him. And all the families of the earth will mourn over Him” (Rev 1:7).
(5) In Zech 13:7, Zechariah declared the word of the Lord, saying, “Sword, awake against My shepherd, against the man who is My associate…Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will also turn My hand against the little ones.” Jesus applied Zechariah’s prophecy to the situation of His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion. After eating the Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus told them that they would all scatter that very night when He, their shepherd, was struck (Matt 26:31//Mark 14:27).
(6) In Zech 14:3, the prophet foretold of a day when “the LORD will go out to fight against those nations as He fights on a day of battle.” Zechariah’s prophecy reinforced Israel’s expectation of a warrior-Messiah. Jesus fought against Satan in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11//Mark 1:12-13//Luke 4:1-13), during His ministry (Matt 12:22-30//Mark 3:22-27//Luke 11:14-23), and finally defeated the Devil at the cross (Col 2:15; Heb 2:10-14; 1 John 3:8). After the Lord returns on a white horse with the armies of heaven in tow (Rev 19:11-21), Satan will be condemned to the lake of fire forever (Rev 20:10).
(7) In Zech 14:8, Zechariah declared that living water would flow from Jerusalem year-round. In Zech 14:16-17, he prophesied that the survivors from the peoples that had opposed Israel would come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, and “should any of the families of the earth not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, rain will not fall on them.” In Rev 21:2-3, John saw the New Jerusalem descending from heaven and noted that God would dwell with His people there forever. In his vision of the New Jerusalem, John also saw the throne of God and of the Lamb. From the divine throne, a river of water flowed constantly, nursing the trees along its banks so that those trees would bear fruit, and their leaves would be for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:1-3).