Friday after the First Sunday in Advent
Scripture: St. Matthew 21:1-9 (NKJV)
1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!”
2. Since Christ’s kingdom is an inner, spiritual kingdom, it follows from this that it is not an earthly, worldly kingdom; that we also do not in this kingdom primarily hope for temporal goods and welfare from this King.…Christ uses a donkey and her colt for His entry in order to portray that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36); to show that He did not come to establish an earthly kingdom; rather, that He is being installed as the King over mount Zion, that is, the Christian Church (Psa. 2:6). To this also pertains that the Lord Christ in this His entrance did not wish to ride in through the castle door (the shortest route from the mount of Olives to the city); instead, He diligently endeavored to detour so that He would come through the temple gate, to indicate thereby that He is not coming to conquer the citadel of Zion and to establish the kind of outward, worldly kingdom like David and Solomon led; rather, for Him it had to do with the Temple (that is, with His Church and all the members of it), so that He might establish in their hearts His spiritual kingdom and distribute heavenly blessings [to them].
This fails to serve the purpose of the Jews, who at that time hoped for the kind of Messiah and King who would distribute temporal welfare and earthly goods to them, deliver them from the power of Rome and make them into a great nation. It also fails to serve the purpose of us, when such Jewish thoughts also arise in our hearts; for when we in sickness, deprivation, temptation, and similar crosses cry to our Lord and King for help, and He does not help us immediately but instead sometimes actually lets us be stuck under the burden of the affliction until we die, we begin to doubt whether we still are true members of the grace-kingdom of Christ.…Against this we should note that the Lord Christ not only demonstrates in John 18:36 with words that His Kingdom is not of this world, but, He also demonstrates with action and deed by this His royal entry in which He utilizes no outward pomp, nor disburses any gold or silver, initiates no worldly kingdom; rather, He demonstrates by every action and undertaking that He is no worldly king nor leads a worldly kingdom.
(From the Postilla (1613) of Johann Gerhard, Sermon for Advent 1)