Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

Palm Sunday; Sunday of the Passion tomorrow April 1st, 2012: “Rejoice…See Your King…Miserable”

The description of Christ coming into Jerusalem as “humble” is too often reduced to an antithetical expression against worldly pride and power. He comes on a donkey so as to contrast coming as a war general on a horse, etc. These analysis don’t go far enough. The particular word here in Zechariah 9:9-12 is that He comes in a distressed and miserable way. This creates quite the scene: He is being greeted with great joy as the King who saves even as He comes in misery. This misery is depicted as He rides the foal of a donkey — on an ass that still follows the mother ass — a beast of burden that is still beneath its mother that it follows. Jesus comes miserably. And so many did not understand. How can we know joy in this scene? It is because He enters willfully in order to know the greatest misery…on the cross that He took on just days after that first Palm Sunday. He came willingly to suffer this great distress in order to make us righteous; in order to bring us salvation…to end our strife, to give us eternal peace, to free us from the “waterless pit (Zechariah 9:11).” In His misery the greatest victory was won, the greatest power was enacted, the greatest feat was conducted. In His misery true joy has come to be known. He entered into Jerusalem that day to take away your sins!


In Christ,


Dr. Espinosa

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