Tuesday 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!”
As the time for Christ’s passion grew ever more closer, He also wanted to draw closer to the place of His suffering; accordingly, on Palm Sunday He left Bethany (where He shortly before had raised Lazarus) and went from there towards Jerusalem—which lay two miles from Bethany. However, as He on His final journey came to Bethphage…Jesus did something unusual by not taking the usual route over the brook of Kidron that He normally took in going to the fortress of Zion; rather, He veered away from this route and went towards the door of the Temple. As He arrived at the mount of Olives, He had two of His disciples make preparations in the next location, instructing them that they were to lead back to Him a donkey along with its colt which they would find there, so that He might conduct His entry.…Why such had to occur for the Lord Christ, the evangelist explains and additionally shows that He herewith wanted to fulfill what was previously proclaimed through the prophet Zechariah (9:9); namely, how the Messiah would conduct His entry into Jerusalem on an donkey, as He initiated His work of redemption, which would have to be fulfilled concerning the Messiah as well (as other prophecies). From this first part, we need to learn:
1. That Christ is our King; for inasmuch as Christ on this occasion conducts His entry, the evangelist interprets from the prophet Zechariah that Christ thereby wanted to indicate that He was a King and that this was to be regarded as a royal entry. If Christ is a King, then He will also have a kingdom, for what kind of king would one be without a kingdom?
Such a kingdom of the Lord Christ then consists in this: that He rules all things in heaven and upon earth with might and power; to Him is given all power in heaven and upon earth (Mat. 28:18). And this is His general kingdom of His divine omnipotence; but He especially rules His Christian Church, which is called the kingdom of His grace. This one He gathers to Himself through His Word; rules His believers by His Holy Spirit; protects them against all enemies; and finally leads them into His eternal kingdom of heaven, where He wants to live with them and walk with them, 2 Cor. 6:16, which is called the kingdom of His glory.
(From the Postilla (1613) of Johann Gerhard, Sermon for Advent 1)