ZECHARIAH 9:9-10: “Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion; cry out, daughter of Jerusalem! Look! Your king is coming to you. He is righteous, and he is able to save. He is humble, and is riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will banish chariots from Ephraim and horses from Jerusalem. War weapons will be banished, and your king will speak peace to the nations. His dominion will extend from sea to sea, and from the River to the farthest portion of the earth.” (ISV)
OBSERVATION: What came first – the chicken or the egg? We have all heard this familiar saying before, but how does it apply to our spiritual life? This wonderful prophetic passage from Zechariah gives us insight into this important question.
Zechariah wrote about the coming of Messiah into Jerusalem hundreds of years before this event happened. We all are familiar with the fulfillment of this prophecy when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on His way to the festival of Passover, when He would willingly give His life for the sins of the world. The story is one of the most familiar in the Bible, as it is found in all four accounts of the Gospels. It is the literal fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy.
Yet, Zechariah’s prophecy is twofold. This is where we see that answer to the “chicken and the egg” question. The first part of the prophecy deals with with humble entry of Israel’s king. The second part of the prophecy deals with the victorious rule of a triumphant king who will speak peace to the nations as he extends his dominion from sea to sea. The Jews at Jesus time failed to see this as two prophetic words. They jumped to the chicken – before they understood the egg!
What does this have to do with our lives? Everything! This is the same error we make so often. We jump to the destination, and neglect the journey. We want to enter into the blessing of God without the cross. We want the fruits of life without the difficulty of plowing the soil and planting the seed. There is a truth in these verses that we must not miss. Death always comes before life! Suffering always comes before victory! Planting always comes before the harvest!
Jesus rode into Jerusalem to die. The crowd thought He was entering Jerusalem to take His position as King of Israel and defeat all their enemies. Rest assured, He will do that when He returns. However, before Jesus could deal with their enemies, He had to deal with their sin. And the only way He could deal with their sin (and ours), was to become the unspotted Passover Lamb, and die in our place. The cross was necessary – before the empty tomb!
Recently I overheard a conversation between two college graduates. They had completed their four year degree and were talking about their career paths that lay ahead. The one said emphatically – “I am not going to take some low paying job! I have already put my time in. I deserve a high paying job!” This epitomizes the attitude in our current culture. It is a mixture of a sense of entitlement, and a general ignorance of the reality of life. It is putting the egg before the chicken!
In our spiritual lives the application is our sanctification – our call to become more like Jesus. We want to go from a newborn Christian – to being mightily used by God – without any sacrifice. This is complicated by the church often elevating famous Christians into places of prominence and leadership the minute they are saved – before they have any time to grow in their faith. And what often happens? The same famous Christian who rose so fast – falls just as fast. Maturity is not instantaneous – it is the work of the Spirit and the cross in our lives.
We must learn to embrace the humble king – before we are ready to walk with the Mighty King! Even the great Apostle Paul spent 14 years in obscurity before he began any fruitful ministry. Moses spent 40 years among the sheep. And Jesus spent 30 years growing up and practicing His trade as a carpenter. We need to become like Abraham who through faith and patience inherited the promises. God is always more interested in what we are becoming than in what we are doing. Our spiritual maturity and fruitfulness is more important than our ministry or position.
This is the wonderful truth of the twofold prophecy of Zechariah!
This is the answer to the question of the chicken and the egg!
Lord, grant me the grace to wait upon Your timing in my life for the fulfillment of the dreams and visions that You have placed in my heart. Help me always to remember that what I am becoming is more important than what I am doing. Help me to be content where I am, and to always walk “after” the Spirit in where You are leading!
Help me to keep the egg – before the chicken!
In Jesus Name!