The Palm Sunday Prophecy (Fulfilled) By Kelly Durant 3-29-15
Zechariah 9:9 “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.
2. How many of you have been around young people when they get excited about their favorite group coming to town? I recall Renee a few years ago talking all the time about the British band ‘One Direction’, how I had to take her to see them, how they were the greatest, and on and on! (She will probably hate me now for mentioning it since that was ages ago in her mind!) The visit of a rock star, a movie star, a sports star, or of someone of political fame seems to always draw cheering crowds. People love to celebrate those that bring them some kind of inspiration or some kind of words of hope in this life! Isn’t that true? The sad part about praising people though is often people cheer only to get a huge let down once their true self is exposed!
Let’s go back about 2,000 years, who were the rock stars then for the people of Jerusalem? It certainly wasn’t any political leader with ties to Rome! They were the enemy, the cruel oppressors! As with many of the world leaders today! Music, sports, and movies were not marketed so what was left? Any prophet or teacher that could bring them hope, a hope of establishing them into power, to be free from the dominance of man, a supernatural person that could bring them honor, salvation, and healing! That was Jesus for them then but He still brings hope, happiness, and inspiration not only just to Jerusalem but to all in the world! The final fulfillment of a world full of love and peace will be in the New Jerusalem Kingdom of God when Jesus returns!
Like an urban legend news about Jesus in Israel had spread from town to town and it spread into Jerusalem that He was the new savior, an amazing miracle worker, a wise teacher, and He even was fulfilling the prophecies of being the expected Messiah! For years and years the Jews were desperate for the Messiah to come and the Rabbis combed over each and every prophecy and the common man got the news that Jesus fit the description of what Zechariah prophesied! And Jesus was arriving in Jerusalem, how world-changing!
3. Every Palm Sunday year after year we face the reality that Jesus through His birth, life, and death fulfilled many dozens of prophecies! This is why I could never be a non-believer: the dead Sea Scrolls and unexplained fulfillment of prophecy prove there is a supernatural God behind the scenes who cares for each of us. The prophecy I am focusing in on today is a little one in Zechariah 9:9 but it has great implications. The Jewish Rabbis and students were familiar with all prophecy; throughout the ages they each learned that the Messiah would fulfill every detail mentioned by every major and minor prophet throughout all the sacred scrolls recorded by their ancestors.
So what can we do with this one verse today? Zechariah 9:9 “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.
This is a very specific verse with 5 points of fulfilment. For those who think the Messiah has not come, then they should rethink how difficult each of these points are to duplicate in concert with one another, especially if you were to try to replicate it in today’s world. The prophetic points are 1) Rejoicing, a shouting and worshipping of happiness for His arrival 2) The entrance of the awaited Messiah specifically going into Jerusalem 3) He is exalted as the King, an implication that He is recognized as the King of the Jews, the chosen Messiah 4) He is just, having salvation, and lowly, all of which means He is a humble man who is fair to all bringing salvation of the soul 5) And finally He is riding on a colt, which is a very unusual specific action strange for an honored King.
4. Let’s explore this more in depth. Matthew 21:1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’
6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him[d] on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”
This report written by Matthew includes the prophecy we are focusing in on today. It is the record of how Jesus obtained the colt (notice that no one yelled out, ‘hey you are stealing my colt’! I doubt that today any person would even be able to go into modern day Jerusalem on a colt with all the traffic! Before I get into the 5 points, let’s consider all the details here.
A separate prophecy was being fulfilled here as well, the one of shouting “Hosanna” at the sight of Jesus. That was a praise to Him and a recognition that He was of the required lineage of David. (Psalm 118:25) Amongst the studious Jews there was no doubt, Jesus was the Messiah.
5. One more thing before getting into the 5 points in the verse. Stand up everybody, yes get up, now take off your tunic or coat…now imagine spreading it out in front of a man on a colt! What an expensive and radical gesture to show honor, right? The rocky and muddy streets of Jerusalem were not too pretty! I doubt the dirt would have even washed out after the tunics got hoof prints and mud embedded in them.
Now imagine laying down the palm branches…this was a gesture of bowing down to share a small gift, a token gesture of honoring a person with the green carpet treatment (before the red carpet came into fashion, ha!). The entire city was there to see what was going on!
As mentioned here in verse 10, “all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” The ones who knew “who He was” were shouting and praising God with all their lungs! The rest of the city had never seen such a welcoming! The welcoming of a Roman leader was done out of formality and obligation, but never had people seen such a positive welcoming like this one!
6. So the rejoicing of the people of Jerusalem was unprecedented! This praising is the first point, now on to the second one, how is it that this explosion of praise happened in such a small city as Jerusalem? Why didn’t God and His Son not decide to enter into Rome, the capital of the world at that time? First of all, Jesus was a Jew who came to reach those of God’s own house first, but we know now that His love was intended to extend into all the world, to every tribe, tongue, and race as well. (As it soon did and continues to do) Jerusalem historically is a sacred city, a chosen city, the City of David, the place of peace and blessings.
There were many prophecies over Jerusalem, one is that they were being like a rebellious chick that the Father wanted to protect under His wings but they refused and rebelled (Psa 91:4). Jesus knew the Jerusalemites would reject Him despite their initial praise and acceptance. Notice what Jesus cries out here, Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” God wanted them to see the light! They were given the first chance with the sign of loud rejoicing.
Jerusalem was where the blessings flourished with God’s chosen bloodline, but it also was where God’s blessings of peace (Salem=peace) ceased. Jerusalem about 40 years after Jesus entrance fell to their enemies, and then many times over were invaded and occupied by others dozens of times over in the past 2,000 years! Jerusalem has seen more war than peace and this conclusively is connected to their rejection of the King or Prince of Peace! (See Isaiah 9:6)
7. Now on to point 3, (‘Behold your King’) He was exalted as the King of the Jews there on that first Palm Sunday. The whole city proclaimed it! What was written on His cross by Pilot? Matthew 27:37 “And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” At first they accepted Him as King in truth, but later they retracted their praise accepting the lie of the false leaders instead!
The act of crying out the word “Hosanna” was special as it was a Hebrew word to express a deep worship and praise. No Hebrew should have worshipped any man this highly, only God, so the fact that all shouted “Hosanna” to Jesus indicates that they knew He was the true anointed Messiah or King. Otherwise, what they were doing would have been considered blasphemy!
We know today that Jesus, by His life, death, and resurrection is the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords! In Jerusalem they worshipped Him as King fulfilling prophecy, recognizing Him for the fulfilment of the prophecies and for the miracles He had done. For a moment they instinctively knew He was King! But Jesus was not finished in demonstrating His power and authority. The ultimate miracle proving His worthiness and Kingship was His resurrection!
8. Point 4, The Messiah needed to possess certain characteristics, those of being just, having salvation, and being lowly. For one, Jesus was not elitist, claiming to be of blue blood, or of a special class imposing His superiority and arrogance (contrary to the world’s rulers back then and today). He was the most fair and loving person ever offering justice and equality of salvation and healing to everyone without discrimination. How shocking He was as He even offered healing and salvation to the despised Sumerians and gentiles! Today he still saves “whosoever will”; all one needs to do is worship and accept Him as savior and as the Son of God, as the King of Kings!
Lowly means humble and Jesus was the ultimate example of it! It hurts me to observe some Christians today who desire riches, praise, or arrogant power. They are damaging the cause of Christ and in my view do not know Jesus! Jesus served all without discrimination not just Jews. He mixed with publicans and sinners, forgave prostitutes, washed the feet of His followers and did unprecedented acts of humility that no other priest or man of God had ever done before.
For me any follower of Jesus must exemplify humility! Some pastors will not even take out the trash! Serving one another in love to me proves the authenticity of Christlikeness in a person!
9. The final 5th point, Jesus rides in on a colt to fulfill this prophecy. How many of you ever rode on a colt, raise your hand? We all know that donkeys have a reputation for being stubborn, right? They will buck you off! How would a small colt act then with a big 180 pound body (about Jesus size?) on it? The expected is for it to kick and fight don’t you think, especially if no one had ever ridden it.
The Roman rulers would ride into cities on elegant horses or in carriages so to imagine Jesus, who is being hailed as King to be on a humble small colt is actually laughable! What humility he had! Jesus didn’t need to always use words to teach with, His actions taught us volumes as well.
The other lesson here is that Jesus obviously was not wealthy to purchase a nice horse or animal, but rather He got this colt by appropriation and it appears by the verses the appropriation of the colt was by divine design. Matthew 21:3 “And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” No one said, “Hey you’re stealing my colt!” When God has a job for you, it will all happen in His design, He always supplies by surprising ways, and it may be with something that ministers to your humility.
10. As we celebrate today with our palm branches as was done over 2,000 years ago, let’s focus in on what it means for us personally. We are to obey Jesus in all His ways. Here are some questions I have for you just based on the 5 point prophecies in Zechariah.
1) Do you get excited, worship and rejoice when Jesus becomes the subject matter of attention? All nature praises Him! Luke 19:40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”
2) Is the spirit of the true Jerusalem worshippers where there is unity with others, present in your heart? Revelation 21:2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (a future Heavenly Jerusalem awaits as we learn here from Revelation)
3) Is Jesus the King of your life? In other words, are you not ‘living as you please’ but living to please Him with Him ruling all things in your life? Romans 14:11 For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.
4) Are you fair to all? Do you serve in humility without discrimination? Do you offer others salvation as Jesus did? How humble and lowly in heart are you? Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
5) And finally, to suggest you mount on a colt to imitate Jesus would not serve much of a purpose! But think of it this way, do you do actions that may put you a position to appear ridiculous to the world? Will you do that if your deeds are humbly fulfilling God’s purpose? 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time
Jesus entry into Jerusalem brought us all these lessons! Let’s pray that we can be as He wants us to be on this Palm Sunday and for the rest of our lives! Praise Jesus, and love Him for His Kingship, salvation and humility! Do you know Him? Let’s pray…