Zechariah 8:3-13 – A Restored Jerusalem
SummaryPerhaps the most vivid and appealing of Zechariah's visions is the depiction of a restored Jerusalem, with the elderly sitting outside their houses and boys and girls playing in the streets. Peace will reign, the vines will grow grapes, the ground will yield plants, and the rain will fall from the sky. The people will be a blessing to everyone.
The tragedy of the exile was not only that so many of Judah's populace were exiled, but that they had lost the center of their worship and cultic life--the temple in Jerusalem. The opening verses of Psalm 137 were the lament of every Jewish person living in far-off Babylon:
By the rivers of Babylon--there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there we hung up our harps.
For there our captors asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth,
saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
How could we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither!
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.
Even the Samaritan woman at the Sychar well knew that Jews considered Jerusalem the place of true worship. Jesus replied that "the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem" (John 4:19-21)--that is, Christian worship would not be localized in any one place. In retrospect, however, one can understand how Jerusalem has been at the heart of Jewish longing for all the centuries since the destruction of the temple and the dispersion of the Jewish people in the first century. These powerful feelings have shaped the politics of the Holy Land in our day and will continue to do so.