Just east of the old city of Jerusalem runs the Kidron Valley. The western slope of this valley runs up against the walls surrounding the Temple Mount. The eastern slope of this valley runs up (past the Garden of Gethsemane) to the top of Mount of Olives. The Kidron Valley is both ancient and famous. Pilgrims have crossed its rugged terrain for thousands of years as they head up to Jerusalem for worship. If you were to visit Jerusalem today, you would notice something very interesting about this area — not only is it swamped with tourists, but it is also covered . . . with tombstones.
The Israeli equivalent of Social Security, actually covers the burial expenses for all its citizens. Israeli citizens can be buried for free in any cemetery throughout the country EXCEPT on the Mount of Olives (headed down into the Kidron Valley). Citizens buried here must pay a premium price. At this point, we want to ask a question: WHY are so many people paying money to be buried in this particular location?
The answer to this question is found in Zechariah 14:1-5. In these verses, Zechariah (a prophet) under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit talked about the promised Messiah — the Savior of the world — approaching Jerusalem by walking down the western slope of the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley, and entering Jerusalem’s Eastern Gates. A portion of present-day Jews believe a resurrection will accompany the entrance of the Messiah to the city. Therefore, wealthy Jews who hold this belief want to be buried on the Mount of Olives with their feet facing the Eastern gates of the city. This way, when Messiah comes, they will rise with Him and enter the city again triumphantly!
Interestingly enough, there is even a tomb in the Kidron Valley ascribed to the Prophet Zechariah. This way the prophet would be one of the first to rise and enter the city with the Messiah . . . an event he wrote about but did not experience in his lifetime. Zechariah’s tomb sat between the Garden of Gethsemane (on the western slope of the Mount of Olives) and Jerusalem’s Eastern Gate.
Here is where this really gets interesting . . . 2,000 years ago when Jesus approached Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He did so walking down the Mount of Olives, past the Garden of Gethsemane, and past the tomb of Zechariah, riding on a donkey (something Zechariah ALSO talked about in Zechariah 9:9).
How was Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem a fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy? What ELSE did Zechariah say, and how come those things have not come true yet? What is the significance for us today of the events of Palm Sunday? Join us this Sunday, March 25 at Wildwood Community Church as we will be looking at the events of Palm Sunday through the lens of the prophecy of Zechariah. In preparation for Sunday, you may want to read Mark 11:1-11 and Zechariah 14:1-5. We look forward to seeing you in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service.