Let us pray: Dear Savior, in an age where trusting another at their word is often a fool’s errand, how wonderful it is to know that we can always rely on and trust You! For You not only tell You people in advance about their future in and with You, but You also have fulfilled every prophecy, every notation in Scripture, when it comes to saving us. Yes, because of that fact may our motto always be: In Christ we trust! Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE GENTLE KING OF ALL POWER AND GLORY!
TEXT: Zechariah 9: 9-10
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
Many of you will recall the words of a popular song from the late 60’s: “Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.” Yet, we all do. We promise to be on time for an appointment and we arrive late, or even forget about it. We promise to pay all our bills on time, but sometimes things happen and we cannot. Teens in love promise their undying devotion for another, but then they meet someone else and that love grows cold, replaced by another version of it. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep!
Well, we’re here today to celebrate because although God has made countless promises to us, He has never negated even one of them! He has kept them all! That’s why in: The Triune God, in Christ, we trust! Yes, just like those first Palm Sunday worshipers, we have assembled together, too, and we shout our hosannas to our King. We, too,
REJOICE! FOR GOD KEEPS HIS WORD!
550 years is a long time. 550 years ago the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans ruled the Americas. Spain was the dominant world power. The Spanish Armada had not yet been defeated. Who recalls today promises made then? Who still trusts them? No one. For promises of mere men are but dust. But here, 550 odd years before Christ entered Jerusalem, God made a promise to His people. And although almost all of them forgot it, God didn’t! He fulfilled it! He kept it! Yes, even though many on that first Palm Sunday didn’t even know exactly why they engaged in that spontaneous act of worship and praise, it had all be written, foretold, and laid out by God in advance. And so, like them, yes for even more reason than them, we rejoice! For God keeps His Word!
Let’s look at exactly what Zechariah the prophet said. “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!” Both verbs used mean to: rejoice, shout, literally leap for joy! The word: “daughter” is used as well to denote the Christian Church, the Bride of Christ, Who also is known by the name: Zion, Prince of Peace, and Jerusalem, city of peace. Indeed, in Jesus we rest in peace, don’t we? This is a parallel passage to that famous one in Ephesians 5: 25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”
At the time Zechariah penned these words, God’s people and the actual city of Jerusalem were beaten, downtrodden, and a shadow of their previous glory under David and Solomon. The people had just returned from forced exile in Babylon and the city was slowly being rebuilt. They had no military might. They had no money. They had only dreams of past glory. But here God gives them a promise, a reality, of future glory which almost seems paradoxical when viewed with mere human eyes.
“See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Kings in those days didn’t ride on yearling colts of a beast of burden. They rode war-horses, chargers, stallions. Likewise, they did not enter a city they had captured with gentleness and humility, but with military power and might. They came to take, not give. To plunder, not restore. Ah, but this King, so long foretold did just the opposite! For Christ is the King of love and forgiveness Who meets us in grace and mercy instead of with shock and awe.
Then to drive home that point all the more, God through Zechariah adds: “I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken.” At Solomon’s time Israel had 1400 chariots, tanks of the time. They were feared by all their enemies. They had countless war-horses, imported from Egypt, that were trained to trample and crush foot soldiers. The battle bow was a fierce weapon, too. It was much like the English long-bow that served as artillery, firing off hundreds and thousands of iron-tipped arrows into the enemy ranks. Peace without such violent weapons? How was that possible? And yet, with God all things are possible. Yes, Christ came to battle the most dangerous enemy of all: sin, Satan, and eternal death for us. He was headed on Palm Sunday to the final show-down at Golgotha. And we know the outcome.—He emerged the Victor over death, sin and Satan, Easter is our proof.
“He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Recall what the Bible says: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not holding their sins against them any more.” Christ, the Conquering Hero, came to bring “peace on earth, good will toward all men.” He came to rule the world with peace, love, truth, and grace. From sea to sea, from the great Euphrates river to the tip of South America, Christ’s Word of truth has been spread—not with guns and swords, but with compassion and kindness. Yes, as the Psalm for today said: “He is the King of glory!”
On Palm Sunday people generally flock to church. That’s because people like a celebration. They find comfort in singing “hosanna”—God save us! And just like the people of that time, we think of salvation in many ways—wars are going on, terrorism is alive and well, disease and poverty are with us, crime and violence stalk our streets, too. But, if we think of salvation only in those terms, we’ll miss the real joy of this day. For internal guilt over sins committed, the inner anguish of lostness that we often feel, the fear of growing old and dying—not knowing the future, our future–those are even greater problems. But, my friends, we have a Savior from those pains. A Savior Who took all those pains and carried them to His cross, our cross. A Savior Who died so that those pains would die and we would live—in peace with God Almighty.
Rejoice! For God Keeps His Word! He has and He is! This plague-filled world can harm your body, but it cannot harm your soul if you remain glued to Christ. For in Him as the Bible says: we live, move, and have our very being. He is with us always to the very end of the age. He will never leave us nor forsake us.” Yes, the Bible tells us all those things and more. But today, I leave you with this last passage: “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!” Yes, the Conqueror has made us into even greater conquerors who will rise someday to meet Him in glory! So, rejoice! For in you God is making His promises your reality. Amen