Zechariah was written during the time the exiles had returned from Babylon to rebuild the temple, but the work had stalled. Zechariah and Haggai confronted and encouraged the people to continue the work. But Zechariah's message went further than that, and gave hope to God's people by telling them of the Messiah to come, whose birth we celebrate during this Christmas season.
My Life Application bible says this about the visions Zechariah recorded in the first 4 chapters...
(1:7-17) Zechariah sees messengers reporting to God that the surrounding nations that have oppressed Judah are living in careless and sinful ease. Israel was asking, "Why isn't God punishing the wicked?" Wicked nations may prosper, but not forever. God will bring upon them the judgment they deserve.
(1:18-21) Zechariah sees four horns, representing the four world powers that oppressed and scattered the people of Judah and Israel. Then he sees four craftsmen who will throw down the horns. God will do what he promised. After the evil nations have carried out his will in punishing his people, God will destroy these nations for their sin.
(2:1-13) Zechariah sees a man measuring the city of Jerusalem. The city will one day be full of people, and God himself will be a wall around the city. The city will be restored in God's future kingdom. God will keep his promise to protect his people.
(3:1-10) Zechariah sees Joshua the high priest standing before God. Joshua's filthy clothes are exchanged for clean garments; Satan's accusations against him are rejected by God. The story of Joshua the high priest pictures how the filthy clothes of sin are replaced with the pure linen of God's righteousness. Christ has taken our clothes of sin and replaced them with God's righteousness.
(4:1-14) Zechariah sees a lampstand that is continually kept burning by an unlimited reservoir of oil. This picture reminds the people that it is only through God's Spirit that they will succeed, not by their own might and resources. The Spirit of God is given without measure. Human effort does not make a difference. The work of God is not accomplished in human strength.
Perhaps this is why Peter denied Jesus three times in our NT passage. He was sure of himself and his own ability to follow God, but his inability to stand in tough times proved that his own strength was not enough. Thankfully, Peter turned to Jesus for forgiveness, and his story turned out far differently than Judas'.
May we remember not to trust in our own strength, but to rely on God's power. It is the only way we can live faithful lives in service to Him.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Zechariah 5-8; Luke 23:1-25