Wednesday, December 4, 2013
ADVENT I Matthew 21:1-11 "OK, So who moved Palm Sunday to December?"
Happy New Year!
"Um, Pastor. It's December 1st, not January 1st. You're a month early." But the church's new year begins today with Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. "Pastor, you've got it wrong. That's Palm Sunday". But in the restored lectionary, it is returned to where it belongs, on the first day of the church year. For Advent means "arrival", and salvation arrived in Jerusalem.
So what does Jesus riding a donkey have to do with Advent, which focuses on Jesus' last day return? We must go back to the days of Israel's kings. On his deathbed, David instructed his son Solomon to ride into Jerusalem on his own royal steed. The man whose name meant "peace" entered the city for his coronation. This is a type of the Prince of Peace riding on a donkey to die as King of the Jews.
As Solomon's ancient ride foreshadowed Jesus' Palm Sunday, that day is also a type, prefiguring His return to earth on the last day to judge. As Jesus comes down in the clouds you are snatched up to meet Him in the air, to descend and remain with Him through the final judgment. As the citizens went out to usher Jesus into the first Jerusalem, so too will you meet and follow Him to the New Jerusalem.
History repeats itself, and that's a good thing. As Nathan the prophet, Zadok the high priest, and the people gathered to welcome Solomon saying, "Long live King Solomon!", so the crowds met Jesus in His day with shouts of, "Hosanna in the highest!" Hosanna means "save us!". But you won't be making any such exclamations when Jesus returns on Judgment Day. For He is already raised to everlasting life. He has already saved you from sin, from death, and from the power of the devil.
You might shout as they did on Palm Sunday, "Blessed–the One coming in the Name of the Lord!" For Jesus is truly the blessed One, from whom all blessings flow. He has already blessed you with salvation, having redeemed you by His blood sacrifice at Calvary. He came to you not as a king of war, but one of peace. Meek, gentle, He came to offer Himself unto death for you, as His riding of a young donkey instead of a war-horse foretold. He is the lamb led to slaughter in silence, for you.
Jesus came once before as your salvation, into Jerusalem where He sacrificed His life to save you. He comes again in triumph at the last day to usher in His heavenly kingdom on earth–paradise restored. So don't get caught up in all the false rapture theories. Jesus isn't coming invisibly to snatch folks from behind the driver's seat of their car. That's nonsense. He who ascended once in the clouds comes back the same way He left to complete His as-of-yet unfinished kingdom of God.
This is why you pray, "Thy Kingdom Come." It has come to you, in your heart by grace thru faith. You have received the righteousness of Jesus in blessed exchange for your sin Jesus bore at Calvary. You have been washed clean in the waters of your baptism, nourished by Jesus' body and blood, and comforted by the gospel. Your spirit and soul are saved, but your body of flesh still may taste death.
Yet your salvation is nearer than when you first believed, because as each day passes, the last day looms closer. On that day, the Spirit will raise all flesh, and your body will be made glorious as Jesus' Own body is! When Jesus returns your body, soul, mind and spirit will all be saved, and the Kingdom of God will be complete! For this we pray, Blessed–the One Who comes in the name of the Lord! Amen.
.Hymns from LSB:
#335 O Bride of Christ, Rejoice stanzas music
#332 Savior of the Nations Come stanzas music
#516 Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying!
#331 The Advent of our King