Zechariah knows how to paint a picture with words. In his visions, Zechariah saw a lot of things that we could spend a lot of time unpacking, but if we had to boil all of those things down to one, it would be this–a future. The people had returned from exile where they started rebuilding the temple and the city of Jerusalem, but persistent opposition and systemic barriers slowed progress. Even after twenty years back in Jerusalem, things had a long way to go, which as you might imagine, was a discouraging reality for the people. We can easily imagine the questions they would have been asking, “Is any of this really worth it? Is this how it will always be?”
At a time when it would have been easy to be swallowed up by the darkness, Zechariah’s visions paint a picture of a brighter future–one where Jerusalem is without walls not because it has been deserted but because it will be filled with people from many nations joining themselves to the Lord. God declared salvation for Jerusalem on the other side of despair, life on the other side of death, words that would be recalled by the evangelist John at the death of Jesus (John 19:37). Like Jerusalem, Jesus appeared to be down for the count, but what seemed like the end was only the beginning. Even in our darkest and at our most desperate, God points His people to the light of hope to come. We may not see it right now, but God’s preparing for you the same thing Zechariah saw–a future on the other side of discouragement, even on the other side of death.