And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him. And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.—Luke 19:28–40
Advent—a Time of Waiting
The church year starts with Advent, a time of waiting. Is waiting difficult for you? It seems that the more I wait for something, the longer it takes to come. During the period of Advent, we prepare for and await Christmas. May our hearts joyfully receive Jesus during this season, and always.
Our text relates of when Jesus rode into Jerusalem for the last time. The people of Israel waited for the Messiah. It was a time for rejoicing, for the long-awaited Savior had come! Jesus’ disciples received Him with joy and praised God in a loud voice. When we believe that our sins are forgiven, we receive Jesus by faith and praise God, as the disciples did.
Jesus Sends His Disciples
Bethphage means “mouth-house.” Jesus sent two disciples there to free a colt and bring it to Him. With faith, Jesus’ disciples did what He asked them to do. God’s Word today is preached from His house, God’s kingdom, through the mouths of His children. The core message is the forgiveness of sins. Jesus taught about hearing, believing, and salvation: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
God’s messengers are sent to preach good tidings to those sorrowful over sin. Like the disciples, we also by faith preach God’s message in this world. It is God’s work which calls sinners to repentance.
The King of Kings Comes in Humility
The Old Testament prophets told of the coming Messiah and how He would free His people. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zech. 9:9).
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem many were waiting for a king that would lead his people to victory out from under foreign rule. Jesus, a lowly King, came in humility riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He came to bring salvation, not warfare. He is one who carries the burdens and labor of man. Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
Matthew records that both a donkey and its foal were brought to Jesus. Luther explains this to represent man’s two portions. The donkey is that outward portion which can be forced to do those things that it does not want to do. The colt, on the other hand, is our inner portion which no man has power over. It had never been ridden on.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, it was the colt that he was on. A person troubled over sin and crying for help willingly receives God’s message of forgiveness for all sins. A new way of life begins, allowing Christ to lead the way. This way leads us to Jerusalem, our spiritual heavenly home. The donkey follows along the way.
Trust in God
A child of God has faith and trust in what God has prepared. Good works and fruits follow, after living faith is received. These works do not merit salvation, but are done with faith and joy. Our Savior is meek and lowly, one whom the weakest person can approach. Christ still lives today among His own. God’s children preach the freeing message, “Sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name and precious blood.”
This Advent season, let us believe this gospel message and allow Jesus to live in our hearts. When we believe, our hearts join in crying out: “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”
December 2017 Voice of Zion