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Presbyterian Deacon

Zechariah 9:9 -- Why Jesus Came!

Zechariah 9:9 "...Your King is Coming..."

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey."

I recognize this passage as a prophecy of our Lord's "Triumphal Entry" into Jerusalem on the first day of the final week of His earthly life before He was crucified. We find it directly quoted by two of the four Gospel writers (Matthew 21:5 and John 12:15). Each of the Gospel writers' accounts (Matt 21:1-9; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-40 and John 12:12-15) show Christ's entry into Jerusalem on that first "Palm Sunday" to be the fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy.

Who is this King? Well, of course I say, (with the Gospel writers) this King is Jesus.

Of interest to me is how this King is described in this Old Testament passage:

He is "Just"

He is "Having Salvation"

He is "Lowly"

My question is: Exegetically speaking, what would Zechariah have understood each of these three descriptions to mean? How would his original readers have understood?

How does this text preach? Is it right to take this passage as an Old Testament basis for developing a Christological Statement in preaching? Are there any nuances of any of these OT words which would preclude a preacher from using Zechariah 9:9 to develop the following outline:

He is "Just"
This King is "Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 2:1).

He is "Having Salvation"
This King is "our Savior Jesus Christ" (II Timothy 1:10).

He is "Lowly"
This King is "meek and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:28).


_______________________________________________________

Dr. John Piper wrote:
This is why Jesus came. This is why he was crucified. This is why he rose from the dead with all authority and promised to be with us to the end of the age -- to create a people whose sins are forgiven, and whose hearts are full of the love of God, and who are so emboldened by the triumphant Christ, that they spend their lives with risk and sacrifice and love to help others know and enjoy the greatness of Christ forever and ever. Is this not what you were made for? Is there not something in your own soul that witnesses to you that this is true and worthy of full acceptance.


Amen!
Lyncx9

Presbyterian Deacon and the Forum:

I believe you have chosen an excellent text for your Palm Sunday message.  Since you have decided to preach on the Zechariah text rather than particularly on the Gospel texts that cite it, I would urge you to approach it as it was understood by the writer and peoples of the Old Testament context before you engage the prophetic fulfillment in Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Obviously the setting of the Old Testament text is at a time when Jeruslem had no king.  But it is also a time when a future king was being promised.  There are elements present hinting, alluding, to the standard coronation ritual and especially a present expression in terms of Solomon's proceedure to his own enthronement (note I Kings 1:33 relating to Solomon riding forth on his father David's mule!).  So the words, first of all and fundamentally, were prophetic declaration of a restoration king for God's people Judah.

But prophetically there is certainly more broader and deeper here in Zechariah 9:9f.  The ensuing context makes that clear from the outset.  This is not merely a king for the provincial city-state of Jerusalem, nor is it even merely the promise of a re-enlargement of the Davidic kingdom and a restoration of that empire.  The ensuing context makes it transparent that this future prophesied king will rule over all the earth and will efffectuate a just peace of a calibre that only God could establish!

All this from the perspective of the Zechariah text in its own context.  And I am strongly of the belief that to preach from this text, Zech 9:9, one must legitimtely start there in order to lead the congregtion to understand what the peoples were comprehending as being about to transpire when they welcomed Jesus as they did.  Unfortunately they thought the means of the establishment of that peace would be for the Messiah to raise up an army, defeat the Romans and effect the Peace of God for God's peole, a peace over against the then extant Pax Romana!

All this can be discerned without reading Palm Sunday fulfillment back into the Zech 9:9f. prophetic texts!  Doing it this way, as I suggest,  pays proper respect to the Old Testament's own inspired perspective and, at the same time, the divine inspiration of its own authors and authority in its own context.

Now, next, I think it best to develop the threefold character of this prophesied king.  Only One who would be God's elect and/or could exercise the power of God could fulfill what all that is set forth in Zech 9:9f.  I would advise that you lay that all out as to the expectation of the legitimate expectation of the crowd and only after that set forth how Jesus, the Messiah, could, and did, fulfill it all.

The three points you have suggested are indeed appropriate.  All I might add is that the word translated as "lowly/humble" might as easily be understood as "afflicted" also as well -- or at least has those very overtones.  The idea is that the righteous one (one who acts justly), this one "having salvation" (being the source of rescue and the power to actualize it) is also One not unacquainted with affliction accompanied with that humility as would submit to that affliction.  This is an aspect that the Palm Sunday crowds did not take nearly seriously enough!  But from our perspective we view it through what would be the events that would transpire in the week ahead.  It would not be inappropriate to remind the congregation of the hollow nature of the Palm Sunday celebration.  It was no unmitigated triumph for Jesus!  Save that triumph for the ascension!  

It is at that point that I think it is fully appropriate to emphasize strongly the prophetic fulfillment that greatly exceeds anything that could have been read from the prophecy of itself.

I Hope this helps.

In Christ

Lyncx
Presbyterian Deacon

Lyncx:

Thank you for your reply.

As I have been studying for this sermon I find it's the movement from the textual examination of Zechariah into the more expositional areas of application to Jesus' entry that I am concerned about. How best to transition from the OT text into the explanation of Christ as the ultimate fulfillment of the King/characterisics noted in Zechariah.

After looking at the background and the text of Zech 9:9 I should perhaps transition for a moment into one of the Gospel accounts (probably Mark), and then go back to Zechariah and look at the 3 characteristics? And then I would draw from other New Testament texts to show that this could only have been fulfilled by Jesus Christ the righteous, and in Christ Jesus alone is salvation/deliverance found, for he is the gentle, humble One who was afflicted for us.

Is that a plausible approach?
Lyncx9

Presbyterin Deacon and the Forum:

I am not so sure I can answer that question for you. I do not handle expositional explications as far removed from the exegesis as do others in sermonizong.  I am uncomfortable moving further apart from the Zech 9:9f. material and its immediate context, unless, of course, I were to be preaching from one of the New Testament Palm Sunday Jerusalem entry accounts as it is related in the Gospel records, rather than preaching from the Zechariah passge directly.

For example, I would not reel into my sermon references as in:

Quote:
He is "Just"
This King is "Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 2:1).

He is "Having Salvation"
This King is "our Savior Jesus Christ" (II Timothy 1:10).

He is "Lowly"
This King is "meek and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:28).


except by way of aside comment.  Everyone handles exposition differently.  My exposition for preachings tends to be very close to exegesis -- closer than most preachers, I think.  I do considerble in the way of contemporary application, but not by way of Scripture citations extraneous to the primary text of my message.

I suspect that what I have written here will not be of much help to you.  However, I would urge you to stay close to the Old Testament text you have selected, unless you decide to change and choose as your text one of the Gospel accounts of Jesus' Palm Sunday entry itself.

In Christ

Lyncx
Ask Mr. Religion

Re: Zechariah 9:9 -- Why Jesus Came!

Presbyterian Deacon wrote:


Of interest to me is how this King is described in this Old Testament passage:

He is "Just"

He is "Having Salvation"

He is "Lowly"

My question is: Exegetically speaking, what would Zechariah have understood each of these three descriptions to mean? How would his original readers have understood?
PD,

Have you read what Calvin had to say about these three aspects:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom30.iii.x.xi.html

AMR
Presbyterian Deacon

Lyncx:

Thank you for your suggestions.

I am not planning to restrict the sermon to the OT passage only, but am seeking to first show the OT prophecy together with the NT Fulfiment and end with the description of this King (emphasizing that ONLY our Lord Jesus can be seen as the One to fulfill this prophecy).

As I've been working on this, I have found that probably a strict exegetical/expository approach to Zech 9:9 is not what this particular congreegation needs to hear. My approach is taking on more of a textual/topical/doctrinal exposition.

At present my outline develops thusly:

"Your King is Coming"
Zech 9:9

I. Promise of a Coming King...
        --Zech 9:9-13

II. Procession of the Coming King...
        --Mark 1:1-11

III. Identifying the Coming King
     A. He is just
     B. He is having salvation
     C. He is lowly

The majority of the sermon will focus on the 3rd point of "Identifying the Coming King" and conclude with application that "...this same King who came is also Coming Again! Are you ready for His return?"
Ask Mr. Religion

Lyncx9 wrote:
Presbyterin Deacon and the Forum:

I am not so sure I can answer that question for you. I do not handle expositional explications as far removed from the exegesis as do others in sermonizong.  I am uncomfortable moving further apart from the Zech 9:9f. material and its immediate context, unless, of course, I were to be preaching from one of the New Testament Palm Sunday Jerusalem entry accounts as it is related in the Gospel records, rather than preaching from the Zechariah passge directly.

For example, I would not reel into my sermon references as in:

Quote:
He is "Just"
This King is "Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 2:1).

He is "Having Salvation"
This King is "our Savior Jesus Christ" (II Timothy 1:10).

He is "Lowly"
This King is "meek and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:28).


except by way of aside comment.
PD,

I agree with Lyncx9. If I were moved to preach from the OT text then I would expositionally preach from it without increasing focus on NT texts. Any NT references I would draw into my discussion would be but asides.

If I were moved to preach about the triumphal entry, I would select one of the Gospel accounts, exposit them, and likewise, any prophetic OT references would be asides.

Now if this is a Sunday or Wednesday evening session, I would perhaps be more fluid and informal and probably have a great deal more contemporary application content. Wink

AMR
Presbyterian Deacon

Re: Zechariah 9:9 -- Why Jesus Came!

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
PD,

Have you read what Calvin had to say about these three aspects:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom30.iii.x.xi.html

AMR


LOL........ :AMR:

:? Wish I had thought to search for the commentary on the internet. I just finished (about an hour ago) typing out part of this material! Of particular interest to me is Calvin's commentary of "what this salvation is which belongs to Christ."

Thanks for the link...only just a bit too late! Wink
Presbyterian Deacon

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
PD,

I agree with Lyncx9. If I were moved to preach from the OT text then I would expositionally preach from it without increasing focus on NT texts. Any NT references I would draw into my discussion would be but asides.

If I were moved to preach about the triumphal entry, I would select one of the Gospel accounts, exposit them, and likewise, any prophetic OT references would be asides.

Now if this is a Sunday or Wednesday evening session, I would perhaps be more fluid and informal and probably have a great deal more contemporary application content. Wink

AMR


I hear you. As I explain above to Lyncx, I am being more moved toward showing the congregation something of the beauty of Christ and His excellencies. I wish to focus more on the Person who is this "Coming King" rather than either the prophecy or the NT account of its fulfillment.

Quote:
At present my outline develops thusly:

"Your King is Coming"
Zech 9:9

I. Promise of a Coming King...
        --Zech 9:9-13

II. Procession of the Coming King...
        --Mark 1:1-11

III. Identifying the Coming King
     A. He is just
     B. He is having salvation
     C. He is lowly

The majority of the sermon will focus on the 3rd point of "Identifying the Coming King" and conclude with application that "...this same King who came is also Coming Again! Are you ready for His return?"


A textual/topical/doctrinal exposition is a bit of a "new" approach for me, but it is (for some reason) the way I am at present inclined to take this sermon.
Ask Mr. Religion

Presbyterian Deacon wrote:
A textual/topical/doctrinal exposition is a bit of a "new" approach for me, but it is (for some reason) the way I am at present inclined to take this sermon.
I understand. Topically oriented sermons are very difficult to pull off given the danger of them turning into opinionated discourse. If you are feeling guided in that direction, then there must be a purpose.

I wish you the best of success on this approach, brother!

AMR
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