Every year, I try to read the Bible all the way through. And every year, I learn something new. On this journey through the Old Testament, I realized for the first time that Zerubbabel, mentioned in Ezra and in Haggai, is a direct ancestor of Jesus. (See Matthew 1:13).
Zerubbabel led the first delegation of exiles back from Babylon to Jerusalem. He oversaw the re-building of the Temple. His name literally means “Planted in Babylon.” So the future Messiah came from one who was born in Babylon.
Do you remember when Jeremiah contradicted all the false prophets who were telling the people that the exile would be over before they knew it? God told Jeremiah to tell the people:
“Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Jeremiah 29:4-7 ESV
I am so thankful that Zerubbabel’s parents were obedient to God’s command to be fruitful even in a hard season. It is a challenge to all of us during this time in our own history.
Beloved, God made Zerubbabel— planted in Babylon— the great-times-eleven grandfather of Jesus! The Lord grew something beautiful from what was planted during a difficult season. And He still does that today!