Sun, Dec 11, 2022
Zechariah saw into the future. In his final two oracles (9-11; 12-14), he envisions God's victory over the nations, judgment of bad leaders, elimination of idols, and restoration of Jerusalem where God's people and the nations would worship. Central to these visions were glimpses of a messianic figure: priestly, humble, pastoral, and pierced. This figure came later, not sooner, in the first coming of Jesus Christ. Zechariah's words provided a script for his life. As his followers, we wait for his second coming. Indeed, we live for later.
Sun, Nov 13, 2022
In Zechariah's second and third visions, God shows the prophet the future of Jerusalem. The old days of displacement will be replaced with a new day of worship. God will open the city's gates, widen its borders, and welcome worshippers from all directions. More importantly, God will remove Israel's enemies, her guilt, and dwell in her midst. This is the way God works: old losses are fertile grounds for new beginnings.
Sun, Nov 06, 2022
Duration: 41 mins 14 secs
Zechariah opens his book with an invitation: Return to God. His summons home depicts God as merciful, compassionate, and longsuffering. The portrait frames the remainder of the book, full of visions and oracles. From the outset, Zechariah sees God on the move. His protection is real: he patrols the earth. His promises will prevail: he will rebuild Jerusalem. Thus, God's reliability and activity should inspire his people to get unstuck and make a move.
Sun, Oct 31, 2021
Esther initiates her plan to convince King Xerxes to reverse his plan to execute the Jewish people This is a risky move on her part. She musters her courage, approaches her king, and earns his favor. Xerxes and Haman join Queen Esther for a banquet. Afterwards, Haman heads home, but his buzz quickly ends when Mordecai does not bow to Haman. This negative encounter is the beginning of Haman's unraveling. Negativity has a powerful gravity.
Sun, Oct 03, 2021
Duration: 45 mins 45 secs
Exile dramatically shaped Jewish history. It was their low point, rock bottom. In exile, they began to reinterpret the past, pour out their laments, and grasp for hope. Some Jews in exile grew rigid. Others became fragile. Those that comprised the faithful remnant remained flexible: seeking the peace of the foreign city while staying faithful to God's commands. Esther 2:5-20 provides an historical glimpse into this period of exile and how two Jews--Mordecai and Esther--sought to live faithfully, albeit imperfectly, in the age of exile.
Sun, Sep 26, 2021
Duration: 49 mins 36 secs
King Xerxes ruled over a powerful empire. Persia stretched from Turkey to India to Ethiopia. They had not conquered Athens. Thus, Xerxes remained greedy for more. This is common in an age of excess. There is never enough: power, praise, or material wealth. This opening message in the Esther series will set the historical context, the Age of Excess, in which the story unfolds. The parallels between Esther's world and our excessive age are numerous.