Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our text for today is the Old Testament lesson, Zechariah 9.9-12. We find a quote from this passage in the Gospel for today (Matthew 21.1-9): "Behold, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt of a donkey."
What happened on Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week? The last entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in His earthly life. Jesus was riding on a donkey, with its colt by its side, as the prophet Zechariah wrote. However, Zechariah lived many centuries before Christ. How did Zacharias knew about the coming of Jesus Christ sitting on a donkey? By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. All Scriptures were written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who guided the fingers of the authors. God by the power of the Holy Spirit revealed to the prophets of the Old Testament something of His will and something of the future.
Today we understand a prophecy as a prediction of the future. Many people say they have the power to see the future through astrology, or communication with spirits. But, they have no communication with the Holy Spirit and are frauds. The Old Testament prophets were the true prophets of God and are in their books we find Messianic prophecies, that is, the prophecies of the Messiah, the Promised One of Israel and Savior of the world.
We find the first Messianic prophecy in the first book of the Bible, Genesis 3.15. The first humans, Adam and Eve were deceived by the snake, that is, the devil. For their disobedience they were punished. God threw them out of the garden to live for a while in this world and die. For their sin they merited eternal death, but God gave them the hope of eternal life after physical death through a Savior.
"I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This prophecy was fulfilled when the devil hurt the Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, on the cross, but Christ crushed the head of the devil through victory over sin and death.
Besides this prophecy, there are many others in the Old Testament. But often these prophecies were like pieces of a puzzle. What do we need to solve a puzzle? Piece after piece, clue upon clue.
The prophet Isaiah said, the Messiah will be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). The prophet Micah told them that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the birthplace of King David (Micah 5.2). Another said that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene, a resident of Nazareth (Isaiah 11.1). Moreover, the Lord would call his son out of Egypt (Hosea 11.1). Above all, the Messiah would be a descendant of the King David. How you can be born of a virgin and the descendant of David at the same time?
God's people received all the prophecies as signals by which to recognize the Messiah. Piece by piece, clue upon clue. The puzzle was solved in Jesus Christ. He was born of the Virgin Mary, but she was a descendant of David, as was Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus. So Jesus was the descendant of David through the blood of his mother, also by inheritance from his stepfather. In addition, he was born in Bethlehem, but grew up in Nazareth and lived in Egypt for a while. All Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus.
How do we know this prophecy of Zechariah is a Messianic prophecy? "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt of a donkey. "
We've talked about the meaning of a king seated on a donkey. To lead his army in a war, the king would have sat on a strong horse. To come seated on a donkey meant he wanted to make a peace treaty. So says Zechariah, "And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the nations. "
In addition, "Thou also by the blood of your covenant will be saved." To the faithful of the Old Testament, the blood of the covenant meant unblemished lambs sacrificed in the Temple. But in a wider sense, the blood of the New Covenant that God has made with us is the blood of Christ on the cross. Christ is our lamb without blemish and His sacrifice is perfect forever.
When Easter began with the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, people greeted him as the Son of David. "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." They thought od the Messiah as an earthly king who would conquer the Romans and restore the glory of the ancient kingdom of Israel. However, this king came to make peace between all nations. In what way? Not by the sword but by His blood and His Word.
"And his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth." What king in the history of the world has had dominion from sea to sea and to the ends of the earth? None. But Jesus has a spiritual kingdom over all the earth. God the almighty Father has given Jesus Christ all power and authority in heaven and earth, even authority over our souls. No prince of this world can guarantee us eternal life, but Christ can open or close the door of eternal life.
Paul says in our epistle (Philippians 2.5-11), "For every knee should bow at the name of Jesus, of those in heaven, and those on earth and those under the earth.” Even now the name of Jesus is known in almost the entire world. No one has more fame and influence, but not all have bowed the knee to Jesus as Lord and Savior. But on the final day, yes, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus bought our souls through His blood. We deserved eternal death, but Christ bought us with His blood. This is the story of Holy Week, the week to come. In this story He fulfilled many more of the messianic prophecies. The Gospel according to St. Matthew in particular emphasizes the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Why? For as those baptized into Christ we are heirs of God's promises. And it's not a puzzle for us. We have answers to all questions of the faithful of the Old Testament. Who is the Messiah? Who was born of the Virgin in Bethlehem? Who entered Jerusalem as its king? Who died on the cross for us? The correct answer to all questions is Jesus Christ.
In Him we have the sure promise of eternal life and therefore anticipate all events of Holy Week, including the crucifixion, but much more victory in his resurrection. Therefore, we hope, joy and peace that passeth all understanding. Amen.
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