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Palm Sunday, Behold Your King

Behold Your King!

Why We Celebrate 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

Understanding the Context

Zechariah is a prophet. This book was probably written around the 6th Century B.C. Zechariah’s purpose in writing was mainly to encourage God’s people about the long-term future of Jerusalem. So, where your mind usually thinks of prophets being all doom and gloom, Zechariah is mostly very positive and encouraging.

We arrive at chapter 9 and we see him taking five chapters to mostly talk about the Messiah. These five chapters (Zechariah 9-14) are the most referenced Old Testament Scriptures by the Gospel writers. Zechariah is a very important book in the Bible. And we get here to chapter 9 and he begins to give a very difficult message from God. He is talking about the judgement on the enemies of Israel. Then, he continues on to verse 9 to give a very clear picture of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ. And he will continue through the rest of the book to talk about the salvation of the Messiah all the way to the coming of the Lord!

Understanding the Text

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Zechariah is encouraging to the believers of Jesus Christ! He is bringing hope to our future. And here he begins in verse 9 talking about the coming Messiah by saying, “Rejoice greatly!” We are commanded to “Rejoice!” We are given hope and in that hope we should find absolute Joy! Even today you should “Rejoice!” for the Lord has come!

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

The term “daughter of Zion” is a common title for God’s holy city and God’s holy people. This is us. We are to Rejoice Greatly!

There is a reason that the world has to find another way to celebrate Easter. They have no reason to rejoice. As a matter of fact, read the first 8 verses of this chapter and you will see that they should be fearful of the judgement that is to come. But we, as believers in Jesus Christ — as God’s chosen people — have a reason to “Rejoice!” The Lord has come! And He has come to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Specifically, Zechariah references Jerusalem, which is the city that Jesus is riding into (Luke 19:28-44). Jesus reached His destination when He arrived in Jerusalem. Jesus made the decision to go to Jerusalem and this showed His understanding of the Old Testament prophecies concerning His death. But the death of Jesus (the resurrection of the Savior) means life for the daughter of Zion! So, we should “Rejoice!” that Jesus chose to enter into Jerusalem. We should “Shout Aloud” and sing praises to our God for our undeserved salvation.

Behold, your king is coming to you…

So, now we get to the point. Zechariah moves to explain why we should be rejoicing. He gets our attention, and he says: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Why? Why should we be rejoicing? And Zechariah, drawing an emphasis on Who is coming says: “Behold, your King!” We can stop there. Because that, in itself, is sufficient for you and for me. Jesus Christ is King. He is Lord of All. He is Sovereign. He is Savior. He is Lord.

Zechariah specifically says here, “your King” because he is drawing emphasis to the promised Messiah from the lineage of David. He is saying, “this is Him!” “Behold! Your King!”

The encouragement here from Zechariah is that the King is coming. Hope draws near! Salvation is at hand! And then he gets very direct and says this: "The King… YOUR King is coming TO YOU…” He is not just coming in general. He is not just making a general entry in hopes that someone will notice that He is important. No! The King is coming to you. The King is coming FOR you.

The Triumphal Entry is a statement that Jesus is making that He is King. There is no doubt about that. But it is also a statement that Jesus is making that He has come for His people! He has come for YOU! That is why we sing “Hosanna!” That is why we praise the name of the Lord! The King has come! Hope is here!

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.

There are four descriptions of the King here:
  1. "Righteous" or “Just”
  2. "Having Salvation"
  3. "Humble" or “Lowly”
  4. "Mounted on a donkey"

Understanding Our King

1. “Righteous” or “Just"
The Hebrew word: tsaddiyq (Sadique). This means: Just or Righteous or Lawful. It is a symbol of perfection according to the law. And this is the first description of Jesus here. That He is righteous. This is very important because it is this righteousness (HIS righteousness) that is imputed to us. So that, when God looks on us, He sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Not our righteousness, because we have none. Not our works, because they are filthy rags. But the righteousness of Jesus.

Our King is Righteous. Our King is Just. Our King is Sovereign. Everything that our King does is Righteous. And our King has total control. Everything that our King does is righteous. That means even the things that we don’t think are so great. God is in control. God is not surprised by anything.

It is not God’s job to make us feel comfortable with this temporary location in which we are placed. It is our job to submit to the fact that Jesus Christ is Righteous and whatever our King does is Righteous! It is our job to bow down before our King and exalt His name because His name alone is worthy. His name alone is exalted. Behold, our King! He is Righteous. He is Just. And He makes no mistakes.

2. “Having Salvation” (or your version might say “endowed with salvation”)
What is amazing about this phrase here is that it is one word used twice. The Hebrew word here is: Yasha. Which means: To save or to be saved or to be delivered. If you were looking at a Hebrew Bible this phrase would say:  “Yasha Yasha” And we translate this: Having Salvation.

Well the importance of this literal language is amazing to understand because not only does our King bring to us an opportunity for salvation, but that salvation IS our King!! Not only does our righteous King come to us and come for us and bring to us hope of salvation, but the amazing fact is that this salvation that our King is bringing to us is Himself!

Jesus Christ IS Salvation! He is the ONLY Way the ONLY Truth and the ONLY Life! And if you want to be saved from the wrath of God, the eternal judgement and damnation of God, then your ONLY Hope is Jesus Christ Alone!

Behold! YOUR KING! Righteous! And He is Salvation!

3. “Humble” or “Lowly”
This is very important in understanding our King, because most “kings” are selfish. Most “kings” when talking about earthly kings only want what is best for them and it doesn’t matter about anyone else. And that was important for the followers of Christ to understand because they were thinking that the prophecies were sending an “earthly king” to overthrow the government.

But OUR King (as described in this text) is “Humble.” Our King came for us and came to us. Our King has come for our good which is for His glory. Our King is not self-seeking, but following His Father’s will. “Not MY will but YOUR will be done.” We serve a Humble King.

4. “Mounted on a donkey”
This is important for us to understand because it symbolizes peace. If he was coming for earthly conquest, then it would have been more fitting for Him to be riding on a horse with a sword in His hand. But our King brings peace that surpasses all understanding.

Our King continues to bring peace. Every single day. What the world would call confusion, Our King calls peace, because He is in total control. He is our peace.

More than ever in our life, we face a time where we just simply need peace. And the only place to find this peace is in Christ alone.

Understanding the Application

We can celebrate “Palm Sunday” by crying out “Hosanna!” because the Messiah has come to this earth, lived a perfect life, died the perfect atoning death, rose from the grave and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. This King came to save His people from their sins. “Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna in the Highest!”
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