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Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion

No. 18 – Air

Music courtesy of The Falls Church Anglican Choir, Falls Church, Virginia, under the musical direction of Simon Dixon. Audio mastering by Andrew Schooley. From Messiah by George Frideric Handel (1742)

Listen to the full playlist for Handel’s Messiah.

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.”

– Zechariah 9:9–10

The prophet Zechariah wrote these words not long after God’s people had returned to Judah from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the temple and their nation. Life was exceedingly difficult. Work rebuilding the temple consisted of stops and starts. The Persian king, Darius, had instituted high taxes to fund a campaign against Egypt. And yet, Zechariah was telling the people to “rejoice greatly.” How was that possible? What cause could they possibly have to rejoice in the midst of their many challenges?

Zechariah’s listeners didn’t have the benefit of hindsight that we do. One of the details articulated by Zechariah five-hundred years before its fulfillment, included that the coming King would arrive in Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Fast-forward to Matthew and John’s Gospels; both recount that Jesus rode in upon a donkey during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We may even take this image of Jesus approaching Jerusalem further in the sense that each of our hearts is a city. Jesus approaches in peace but will we, do we, let Him in? The fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy and of all the other prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Jesus heightens the message and meaning of Messiah. It is evidence we have a God who keeps His promises and that His Word is true.

As the first of these verses was fulfilled on Palm Sunday, so the second will be fulfilled at His second coming where His dominion shall be from “sea even to sea.” Because of His track record and because the Bible is reliable, even when we face difficult circumstances in our lives, we can, like those returning to Judah, “Rejoice greatly.”


O Joy of heaven, approach this city. Ride in and take Your place as
King. I look to Your coming and rejoice greatly. O Messiah who came, come once again!


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Joseph A. Kohm

Joseph A. Kohm, C.S. Lewis Institute Vice President for Development and City Director for Virginia Beach. Joe is an attorney and formerly worked as a Certified Major League Baseball Player Agent. He earned his Master’s in Management Science from the State University of New York at Oswego and both his J.D. and M.Div. from Regent University. Joe is the author of The Unknown Garden of Another’s Heart: The Surprising Friendship between C.S. Lewis and Arthur Greeves (Wipf and Stock, 2022.)


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