Knowing what we celebrate on Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9 In a time when hope was needed, the prophet had this to offer: the king is coming. A century earlier God’s wrath toward his people’s idolatry had driven them into exile, and the consequences endured long after the return. Twenty years later, it was clear: things would never be the same. Their kingdom, their culture, their relationship to God… all seemed unrecoverable. God told them to rebuild the temple, but they knew their meager resources could never replicate anything approaching their memory of Solomon’s Temple. So there was little energy for the task. In this context, Zechariah is sent by God to call the people to finish the temple. Why? Because the king is coming. Sin must be forsaken, God

must be obeyed, his word must be celebrated, the temple must be finished, because the king is coming. Many prophecies anticipate Messiah, the deliverer, the Savior, but none more clearly than Zechariah 9 reveal that this one who God would send would be king. And a certain kind of king, one who is righteous and humble, in contrast to the deprived rulers of Israel and Judah’s history. More importantly, the king is coming with salvation. This king is going to be a savior! A deliverer! He will fix what is broken. He will bring prosperity back. He will restore peace. The king is coming! What an encouragement to those who heard Zechariah’s words! The king is coming. In fact they did finish the temple. Then came 400 silent years, dark years, years of defeat and occupation. Many despaired. But others clung to that sliver of hope: the king is coming. Then, Jesus was born! Elizabeth and Mary hoped, Herod…