I've been talking about Messianic Prophecies over the last week as we come up on Easter---the greatest celebration for Christians! Today I'm going over a couple of prophecies in the Old Testament book of Zechariah. The prophet Zechariah wrote about Messiah approximately 500 years before the birth of Christ.
Reading through, I was especially blessed by two specific prophecies found in this book.
Messiah would enter Jerusalem on a donkey
Zechariah 9:9: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation. Humble, and mounted on a donkey. Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
This was fulfilled in Matthew 21:1-9. While reading the verse above, the critical voice in me spoke up to point out that Jesus, having been schooled with the rabbis from an early age, would have been familiar with this verse and could have found himself a donkey on which to ride into Jerusalem in order to fulfill the prophecy. However, once I read the verses in Matthew, I became aware of two reasons why this prophecy can be taken for truth. For one thing, Matt. 21:2 tells us that Jesus sent two disciples on ahead to fetch the donkey and colt. The verse says, "Go into the village opposite you and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her." God had revealed to Jesus where he would find a donkey on which to ride before he even got to town. Secondly, verse 9 says that the crowds were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord; Hosanna in the Highest". There is no way that the prophet Zechariah, nor Jesus Himself, could have predicted how the crowd would react. Verse 8 says, "Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road." This tells us that at least the majority of the people were treating Him as royalty. This is especially significant as these are likely the same people who, only days later, were shouting, "Crucify him!" (Matt. 27:22-23)
Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver
Zechariah 11:12-13: "I said to them, 'If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!' So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them'. So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord."
This portion of Zechariah is...weird. It's language and context definitely warrant more study! These verses actually point out two instances of fulfilled prophecy. First of all, Matt. 26:15 tells us that Judas accepted 30 shekels of silver to betray Jesus to the chief priests. Secondly, Matt. 27:5-10 tells us that is was unlawful for the chief priests to put blood money into the temple treasury. Therefore, after the guilt-ridden Judas threw the money back at them, they decided to use it to buy the Potter's Field as a burial place for strangers. Furthermore, Acts 1:18-20 seems to allude to the possibility that it was in this field that Judas committed suicide. It's also important to point out that this isn't the only place in the Old Testament that discusses Jesus' betrayal. Psalm 41:9 says, "Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me."
Thank you, God, for revealing so much to your people so long before the events really took place. It's instances like these in the Old Testament that can help us to cement our faith in the New Testament and in Jesus as our Messiah!
Don't miss Part One and Part Two of this series on Messianic Prophecy!