Saturday 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!”
Finally, this King is also poor and gentle, through which a great treasure of this kingdom is also held out to us. With worldly kings, things transpire this way: in their poverty, they can help their subjects very little; but this heavenly King has won for us the heavenly, eternal blessings and benefits with His poverty; for even though He was rich, yet He became poor, so that He could make us rich (2 Cor. 8:9). That’s why we obviously have reason to rejoice in the fact that He willingly gave Himself over into such poverty for our sake. The evangelist recorded the word gentle, for the Hebrew word used by the prophet indicates the kind of poor person whose heart is lowly and lamenting, a heart in which one sees sheer gentleness and compassion.
Christ then made proclamation about this in this story through His deed, for He sends Himself to the mount of Olives for His entry, to show that He is a meek and mild King, for in the Holy Scriptures [olive] oil signifies meekness and mildness. Also, He does not use any pompous prancing steed for His entry; rather, a donkey, which is a patient, burden-bearing animal. Yes, He also weeps with heartfeltness over the city of Jerusalem, as He descends from the mount of Olives in Luke 19:41, so that one indeed can see His sympathetic heart.
This is also a treasure in the kingdom of this King: that in Him we have a gentle, meek and mild King, Isa. 42:23: He will not scream nor cry out, and no one will hear His voice in the streets; the bruised reed He will not break and the glimmering wick He will not extinguish, etc. Even though we ambitiously apply ourselves from the heart to serve this King in His kingdom, yet sometimes much decrepitude [frailty] runs along side; there is then the comfort that we have such a King whose mercy bears with our weakness (Heb. 4:15) and does not quickly shove us away—instead, He daily improves us.
(From the Postilla (1613) of Johann Gerhard, Sermon for Advent 1)