Thursday 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!”
Just as a king possesses the complete power to create and order everything in his kingdom…so also where Christ reigns in the heart of a believing person, there He guides and leads him to all that is good, and (as St. Paul says in Gal. 2:20) He lives in him; that is, as the soul of a person gives motivation to a person’s natural life, so the Lord Christ gives such a person spiritual life and the motivation of the Spirit, that such a person obediently and willingly, yes with eagerness, submits to the will of God. That’s why Christ has taught us to pray in the Our Father: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. If we have prayed that His kingdom come, in keeping with Christ’s direction we immediately add to it that His will be done by us and be fulfilled through us; for if the spiritual grace-kingdom of God is to come to us, we must submit ourselves and give ourselves over to His will so that we, in all humble obedience, follow the reign of Christ by the Holy Spirit for the purpose (as St. Paul also wishes for the Ephesians) to become strong in the inward person (and quickly adds on) and for Christ to live in your hearts through faith—as if he wanted to say: If you are to increase in the inward person, then Christ has to live in your hearts by faith and rule within it (Eph. 3:17).
At the same time, it is to be noted that the inward grace-kingdom of Christ is not as complete as it will be someday in eternal life, for the sinful flesh still remains within us; it resists the Spirit and the reign of Christ (Gal. 5:17). Therefore it is required that the flesh be forced into submission to the obedience of Christ and be taken captive (2 Cor. 10:5).…Also, we experience a weak result in our efforts to subjugate the flesh to the reign of Christ. Such is now also portrayed in this story; for what the Evangelists say about Christ being given a ride on a donkey and upon a colt is to be understood as a play on words; namely, that Christ carried out His entry upon the colt of the donkey, and the donkey was pulled after him—as is to be deduced from Zec. 9:9 and from the evangelist John in 12:14. By this it is portrayed that if Christ reigns over our inner man, the donkey (that is, our flesh, our old man, the lazy burden-bearing donkey) has to be pulled after Christ by force so that he follows the suffering Christ and the inner man.
(From the Postilla (1613) of Johann Gerhard, Sermon for Advent 1)