Thy King Cometh
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Tucked away in the latter books of the Old Testament is Zechariah, the eleventh in order of the twelve Minor Prophets. Zechariah was probably born in the Babylonian empire during the 70 year exile and he returned to Israel with the first caravan under Zerubbabel and Jeshua. Zechariah, like Jeremiah and Ezekiel was a priest as well as a prophet. He entered his priestly office as a young man (Zechariah 2:4). It was the 8th month in the second year of Darius that Zechariah began his priestly office. Haggai and Zechariah were contemporary prophets of post-exilic Israel. Zechariah wrote his prophetic book in about 520 B.C. That is important to know because of what we read in Zechariah 9:9 -- "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."
There are many Old Testament prophecies telling of a coming king. The prophecies that stuck in the minds of most Jewish people were of a powerful and glorious coming king. Jeremiah 23:5 is just one example -- "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." However, Zechariah 9:9 definitely is not of that kind of King, but rather a lowly king. The Hebrew word is yne ‘aniy (aw-nee’) which means afflicted, humble, and lowly.
In Matthew 21:1-10 we see the fulfillment of
Jesus and his disciples arrive about a half-mile east of Jerusalem. Jesus sends two disciples, we do not know which two, into the village (v.2). Some say he sent them to Jerusalem. However, Jerusalem would NOT be called a kwmh kome (ko’-may), which means a hamlet, town or village. Their purpose was to pick up an asses colt for Jesus to ride. While Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12 have accounts of the Triumphal Entry as well, only Matthew mentions both the ass and the colt. Note verse 3. The two are instructed what to say if someone asks why they are taking them. "And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them." Matthew 21:3
Note the word Lord. The Greek word is kuriov kurios (koo’-ree-os) and means supreme power, or authority; Master, Sovereign. Think about that for a minute. That is who Jesus Christ was and is.
Now turn with me to Mark 11:4-6 "And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. 5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? 6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go."
It is clear from verses 4-6 of Matthew 21 this was a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9.
What we see next, many call "the Triumphal Entry." But, there is more going on than meets the eye. The timing of this event is very important. Matthew Henry says that Christ rode into Jerusalem five days before his death (see John 12:1 & 12). The Passover was on the fourteenth day of the month, and this was the tenth. It was on the tenth day the law appointed that the paschal lamb should be selected and set apart for that service. Turn to Exodus 12:3 "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house." It was no accident that on that day that Jesus Christ showed himself publicly, because He is the Passover Lamb, who was to be sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7).
The people had heard that Christ was coming into Jerusalem (John 12:1). He was famous! After all he calmed the storms, walked on the water, fed the multitudes, healed the sick and raised the dead! But, they also wanted to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead (John 12:9-10). The crowd hails him as king! They lay their clothes in front of him and palm branches as well. Turn to Matthew 21:9 "And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." By calling Jesus the Son of David, they owned and proclaimed him to be the Messiah. The word Hosanna was a Hebrew imperative meaning "save us we beseech thee." They were saying, Messiah-King, save us! This would have been a familiar passage to all Jews because in the Hebrew hymn book they would often sing Psalm 118 during their festivals -- "Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD." Psalms 118:25-26
What the people were yearning for was a conquering king. They wanted the yoke of Roman occupation thrown off. They wanted to return to the glory days of David and Solomon. But, that is not why Christ rode into Jerusalem. He came to offer Himself to be our suffering Savior, our Passover Lamb, not to be a conquering king.
Matthew 21:10 makes it clear that there was so much commotion that the entire city wondered what was going on. Everyone took notice of Jesus. However, many of the same crowd who hailed Christ as King, were among the crowd who shouted crucify Him five days later.
I conclude this section of the message by reminding you that Palm Sunday, so called, was when Christ showed himself publicly and presented himself as the Passover Lamb. He would be sacrificed for the sins of the world five days later.
There is a chorus in our hymnals that goes like this – "He is coming again. He is coming again! With power and great glory, He is coming again.
The first Palm Sunday our Lord came meek and lowly riding on the young colt of an ass. But, there is a very different Palm Sunday coming in the future. While I do not know for sure that it will be a "Palm Sunday," I have a strong suspicion that it will be! This time Christ will come on a celestial white horse. This time He’s coming rule the earth!
Revelation 19:11-16 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
Jude 1:14-15 "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
What a day that will be.