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The Arrival of the King

When the president travels by motorcade, streets and expressways are blocked. Secret service agents are positioned at strategic locations on overpasses and bridges. The goal of these measures is not only to make certain there is no delay but also to limit access to the president. When Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem the week before His crucifixion, there were no blocked streets or armed guards. Instead, there were cheering crowds who spread their cloaks and palm branches on the road (Matt. 21:8–9). In his Gospel account of that event, Matthew makes it clear that Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy of the arrival of Israel’s Messianic King.

Zechariah’s prophecy not only describes the manner of His coming, lowly and riding on a donkey, but also the character of Messiah’s reign. He will be righteous and victorious (v. 9). He will put an end to warfare and “proclaim peace to the nations” (v. 10). His rule will be worldwide, extending from sea to sea and the ends of the earth. These aspects of Zechariah’s prophecy have not yet come to pass. This may be why Matthew quoted only a portion of it in his Gospel.

Old Testament prophecies of Israel’s Messiah often combine aspects of Christ’s first and second comings. Someone has compared these prophecies to looking at a mountain range from an angle which makes two peaks look like one with the valley between them hidden from view. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem foreshadowed His ultimate victory. At His first advent, Christ came in lowliness. He offered Himself as Israel’s King, was rejected, and was crucified for our sin. When Jesus comes again, He will return in power to claim what is His by right.

Apply the Word

Unlike the president, Jesus does not rule by popular vote. He is God’s Son and Israel’s King. Scriptures predict that one day every knee will bow to King Jesus (Phil. 2:10–11). If we do not do so willingly by faith, we will eventually bow to Him under compulsion. Say yes to Him today.

BY Dr. John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies

Dr. John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

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