Summary: A look at the striking price of the plan that God has.
- We all love the Christmas season. The lights of the tree, the warm gathering with family, the birth of the Savior.
- There is a part of the Christmas story that we don’t like, though. It doesn’t fit with our warm light, soft focus Christmas.
- Matthew 2:13-18 tells us of the slaughter of the innocents. A bloody, ugly story.
- Most of us prefer the soft light of Christmas to the harsh light of reality.
- With that in mind, we turn to our passage for this evening, which speaks a similar, though less familiar, word.
GOD'S BLOODY PLAN:
1. The bloody plan shows up in Christ’s sacrifice.
- This passage speaks of the shepherd being struck. It is quoted by Jesus in Matthew 26:31. We know that Jesus is the good shepherd and that He was struck for us.
- In addition to the thought of Christ’s death, this passage is also a reminder to us of the reality that this plan was God’s plan. It doesn’t mean that God was glad it had to happen, but it does mean that He willed it under the circumstances.
2. The bloody plan shows up in the end of the world.
- One of the most common interpretations of this section is that during the battle of Armageddon two of three in Israel will die. Now, we could camp out here for an extended period and get into specifics of the who and how of that event, but I want to stay on the larger point tonight that we find in Zechariah.
- That larger point is simple: the end of the world involves a lot of bloodshed.
3. God’s goal isn’t a fragile ceasefire – it’s a transformed people and world.
- Why would God’s plan involve all this bloodshed? Many of us would respond with the words of Rodney King, “Can we all just get along?”
- We might well be satisfied with a fragile ceasefire. Just keep sin out of sight and we’ll be ok. God, though, is shooting for something more profound and difficult: to meet sin and evil head on and deliver a new world. This verse speaks to refined people. It speaks to people who belong to God and He gladly claims them.
- God is looking for a broad transformation both of people and the world. That’s amazing, that’s bold, and that’s exciting.
A FEW QUESTIONS:
1. Are we satisfied with a false peace?
- Often we’re satisfied with a lack of open, ongoing hostilities. We don’t want to go through the trouble of bringing about a true, lasting peace.
- This is true both personally and globally.
- Personally we often choose to let situations fester because we don’t want to pay the price for genuine resolution.
- Globally we come to accept the mess that our world is. It’s just the best we can hope for.
- Or is it?
2. Do we groan in longing for a redeemed world?
- A follow-up question to the false peace concerns what we desire to see happen.
- Do we have a deep desire to see the world redeemed and transformed?
- The Bible gives us a provocative picture as it describes the redeemed body and the New Jerusalem. It’s a picture of something profoundly better than we have now.
- Certainly we can’t force it to happen on our own, but we can hold out hope for it to come about.
3. Are we willing to sacrifice for this plan?
- As we think about what Christ intends to bring about, we are part of what God is doing in this world. There are sacrifices for the Kingdom that He wants us to make.
- For some, it’s stepping into dangerous situations.
- For some, it’s making major life sacrifices to serve Him.
- But for all of us, there is the call to put aside our desires and live for the Kingdom. It’s important to realize that my obedience is part of what God is using to move His plan forward.