The following lesson on Zechariah was prepared for students ages 5-11. Students will discover that Zechariah reminded God’s people of His future promises about the Messiah and they were encouraged to return to the work of rebuilding the temple. Believers can be encouraged in difficult circumstances when we remember God has promised a glorious future for all who believe in Jesus.
Bible Passage: Zechariah 1-14
Bible Story Title: Zechariah prophecies about Jerusalem’s future glory
Target Age Group: Ages 5-11 (K-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Supply List: Bibles, material for learning activities, pens, pencils, markers, crayons,
Learning Goal: Students will learn from Zechariah that believers find encouragement when they continue to trust God’s future promises during difficult times.
Learning Activity #1: (For older students) Zechariah booklet, Coloring page (Scroll down to page 51)
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Bible Lesson: Zechariah prophecies about Jerusalem’s future glory
What was Zechariah’s message? He spoke about the coming Messiah.
Why should God’s people have hope? God has promised a glorious future to all who believe in Jesus.
(Begin with prayer)
God chose His people the Israelites to be His very own special people. From the Jewish people (Israelites) He would send the Savior of the world. (Deuteronomy 7:6, Genesis 12:1-3)God’s people (Jews, Israelites) had been given His laws and promises. He promised that they would have a blessed life if they obeyed His instructions. He also told them if they chose to disobey His word that they would be punished (Deuteronomy 28).
God is perfect in all His ways and must punish sin. Over and over God’s people disobeyed His instructions. God was patient and sent many prophets to warn them to repent (turn away from their sin) and be forgiven so they would not have to face His punishment. God’s people were stubborn and continued to disobey by worshiping idols and acting very wickedly.
God waited patiently for His people to repent so He could forgive them, but they did not. He kept His promise to punish them for their disobedience and allowed the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and take many of the Jews back to live in Babylon. God’s people were prisoners living in another country for 70 years.
If you were here a few weeks ago you learned about how God changed King Cyrus’s heart and allowed God’s people to return to their own land to live and rebuild the temple. 50,000 Jewish people returned to Jerusalem and begin to rebuild the temple.
God saved His people who were prisoners of Babylon as He would one day send Jesus to save and restore His people who prisoners of sin.
When enemies of the Jewish people heard that they had returned to their land and began rebuilding the temple they began to cause trouble. They frightened God’s people and they stopped rebuilding the temple. (Ezra 4)
About 16 years had passed and the Jewish people who had returned to Jerusalem had not done any work to rebuild the temple. They had forgotten God’s promises to His people and instead of trusting Him to fight their enemies and give them the strength to rebuild the temple they quit. They believed it was just too hard to rebuild the temple and focused on building their own homes to live in.
God sent His prophet Haggai to rebuke or reprimand His people for not trusting God and becoming indifferent to the important job of rebuilding the temple. Haggai told them that the Lord was with them (Hag. 2:13) and God’s people got back to work rebuilding the temple.
Today we are going to meet another prophet named Zechariah. God used Zechariah along with Haggai to encourage the Jewish people who had returned to Jerusalem.
Zechariah is in the Old Testament and is one of the Minor Prophets. Let’s recite the Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi).
Zechariah’s name means “the LORD remembers”. God’s people saw all the other countries living peacefully and their city was ruined. They may have felt like God had forgotten them or abandoned them. God always keeps His promises to His people. When God sent Zechariah the prophet to speak to His people, even Zechariah’s name would be an encouragement that God had not forgotten them or His promises.
Zechariah began sharing God’s message with His people in Jerusalem 2 months after Haggai spoke. Zechariah’s message was an encouragement to God’s people because he spoke about the coming Messiah.
Let’s read Zechariah 1:3-4. Zechariah’s message to the Jews that had returned to Jerusalem was a reminder not to be like God’s people who would not return to God to have their sins forgiven. Instead they ignored God’s laws and were punished for their sins. The terrible condition Jerusalem was in, broken walls, no temple to worship in etc. were visible signs of the consequences of the choice to ignore God’s Word.
Zechariah was calling the Jews to repent and return to God and reminded them of God’s future promises of blessings. When God’s people remember that God always keeps His promises they can find encouragement in difficult situations.
Zechariah had 8 visions from God. The visions reminded God’s people that He was in control and He would keep His promise to send the Messiah. Many of the visions that Zechariah shared with God’s people were about their future. They could have hope because God promised a future glory for His people and for the land of Jerusalem.
In one of Zechariah’s visions (Zech. 2) he sees a man with a measuring line in his hand. He was sent out to measure the land of Jerusalem. An angel said that Jerusalem will be filled with people and animals and will not need a wall around it. God would punish the countries that harmed His people. He would be a wall of fire around the city of Jerusalem protecting the people from enemies. This vision would have been an encouragement to the Jewish people who only could see ruins in the city of Jerusalem. God’s future promise of Jerusalem with many people living in it and the Lord Himself living in the city would be very encouraging.
Zechariah has many verses that point to God’s promised Messiah. Let’s read Zechariah 6:9-11. What did Zechariah ask them to make? (A crown) Who was going to wear the crown? (Joshua the high priest) The reason this points to Jesus is because in these days kings wore crowns not priests. Jesus the Messiah is prophet, priest and king (Matthew 13:57-Jesus as prophet, Hebrews 6:20-Jesus as High Priest, 1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 19:16-Jesus as King).
When Zechariah spoke our memory verse for today to the people living in Jerusalem it was a future promise about the Messiah. Let’s recite Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
This promise is not a future promise to us today. Can anyone remember how Jesus fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy? On Palm Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people were shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:1-9)
Jesus the Messiah came the first time to die on the cross for our sins. He was buried and rose again the third day and is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus will come back a second time to fight and destroy His enemies. Let’s read Zechariah 14:3-5. Zechariah is speaking of a day that is still future to us when King Jesus will come back and destroy His enemies and set up His kingdom on the earth.
Zechariah’s message of God’s future promises to His people encouraged them to get back to work and rebuild the temple. The temple was finally completed four years later.
Many times believers can be like the Jewish people living in Zechariah’s day. Our circumstances can be very hard and we stop trusting God to help us. When we stop trusting God we become very discouraged. Because we are discouraged we stop do the work God has given followers of Christ to do. Every believer is commanded to share the Good News and disciple others. (Matthew 28:19-20) He has given each believer gifts and talents to serve the Body of Christ (other believers) (Ephesians 4:11-13) to help them mature and be more like Jesus. (Romans 8:29)
God has kept His promise to send the Messiah. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose again. All who put their faith in Him are forgiven of their sins and will live forever with Him. God’s work can be done through the power of the Holy Spirit who comes to live inside of each person the moment they become believers. When we get discouraged we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and remember that one day He is coming back to destroy His enemies and we will live forever with Him. God’s promise of Jesus’ future return gives us hope to press on through difficult circumstances.
Close in prayer.
1. What does Zechariah’s name mean? (God remembers)
2. Why were God’s people discouraged? (They had returned to Jerusalem, began rebuilding the temple but stopped because they were afraid of the enemies.)
3. Who did Zechariah speak about? (The coming Messiah)
4. How many visions did Zechariah have? (8)
5. Why was the vision about the man with a measuring line encouraging? (God was going to punish those who hurt His people; He was going to live in Jerusalem and would be a wall of fire around Jerusalem protecting them.)
6. Who is prophet, priest and king? (Jesus)