The Advent of Our King, by Pastor Edward Brockwell

The Advent of Our King, by Pastor Edward Brockwell

The Advent of Our King

Sermon by Pastor Edward Brockwell

Based on Zechariah 9:9-10

The Confessional Lutheran Church of Finland

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I. Your King Comes to You

II. He comes to you Humbly With Salvation

 

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.

10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim

And the horse from Jerusalem;

The battle bow shall be cut off.

He shall speak peace to the nations;

His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea,

And from the River to the ends of the earth.’[1]

 

I remember when I was living in Plymouth, England, I caught a glimpse of the Royal Train that had come and was then heading back to London. A member of the Royal Family had come to Plymouth. Such royal visits always meant high security: roads were often blocked off, traffic diverted, and there were always the special security agents that would not allow anyone to get too near to any of the Royal family, especially the queen. Sadly, no one can ever get close to a Monarch, not only in terms of proximity, but especially concerning a close relationship. So, it was nice to see the Royal Train, but I knew that no one from the Royal Family had come to see me. After all, they didn’t know me personally. However, it is just the complete opposite in the words of today’s text in Zechariah. Zechariah’s prophecy opens with words of great joy and excitement: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you…” This monarch, not only is He a king, He is the King of kings. Not only did He once come to Jerusalem, He continues to come today throughout the entire world. What is more, He comes to you and to me personally, humbly and with salvation!

Zechariah prophesied of Jesus’ entry or “coming” into Jerusalem. We look back at His first coming, His first Advent, as a gracious fulfillment of not only Zechariah’s prophecy, but of all the prophets, and even as far back as the fall of man when Adam and Eve sinned. In Genesis 3:15, God promised that a Saviour would come and would save Adam and his descendants. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!” Thus, Advent is also a time to focus on how Jesus comes to us today. Zechariah’s call to praise and rejoice are words that are personally directed to each of us. C.F.W. Walter wrote that “In a figurative or spiritual sense … the Old and New Testament Church are the Daughter of Zion. It is these believers who hold the promise that Jesus will come to them continually in the Church Year that is just beginning.”

Another reason for us to “rejoice” and to “shout aloud” is the fact that Jesus comes to those whom we might never have dreamed or suspect that He would pay a visit. I can imagine the Queen visiting and dining with the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, and perhaps make an appearance in front of a throng of law-abiding citizens and well-wishers. But who would imagine the queen, riding in ordinary car to the Dartmoor Prison, in Princetown. In our text, there, my friends, is the King of kings. He is our Maker. He loves His creation. His greatest glory is in having mercy. He comes even to those who struggle and are not certain they belong to the Daughter of Zion as “true believers and true members of Christ Church” (Walther).

Like the shepherd (Luke 15) that leaves the ninety nine righteous and searches after the one sheep that had gone astray, Jesus seeks after even the most miserable and lost sinners. “Jesus comes, first, to His Church, His true believers, but He also visits all who cling to His Church, even if they are still miserable and lost sinners. Christ’s Church is wherever His Word is proclaimed and His precious Sacraments are administered. Where these means of grace are absent, His Church is also absent. In such a place, there is no Christ, no salvation, and no blessedness. Anyone who does not want to keep God’s Word and Sacraments hopes in vain for Christ’s coming. Only the daughter of Zion, who has His Word and Sacraments, will hear these words: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, [He is] lowly” (Zechariah 9:9). You, dear friend, are the daughter of Zion! Behold, your King, Jesus, He is coming to you. Indeed, He with you now!

Your King comes to you, dear friends! He comes to each of us personally. Martin Luther wrote: "You do not seek him, but He seeks you. You do not find Him, He finds you. For the preachers come from Him, not from you; their sermons come from Him, not from you; your faith comes from Him, not from you; everything that faith works in you comes from Him, not from you; and where He does not come, you remain outside; and where there is no Gospel there is no God, but only sin and damnation… He cometh "to you." To you, you! … That alone can be called Christian faith, which believes without wavering that Christ is the Saviour not only to Peter and to the saints but also to you. Your salvation does not depend on the fact that you believe Christ to be the Saviour of the godly, but that he is a Saviour to you and has become your own… Such a faith will work in you love for Christ and joy in him, and good works will naturally follow. If they do not, faith is surely not present; for where faith is, there the Holy Ghost is and must work love and good works."

Behold, dear friends, your King comes to you. Not only does He come to you, but He also abides with you. He comes to you now through Word and Sacrament, indeed these are humble means. Nevertheless, in these humble means the same Lord that rode into Jerusalem is the same Lord is rides into our hearts, our lives, our sins and our troubles. He brings to us salvation. Behold, your King comes to you. I pray that you will keep these words in your hearts and minds throughout this new Church year. I pray “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.” (Eph. 3:16-19)

A blessed Advent, dear friends. Behold, YOUR King comes to YOU! A blessed new church year unto all of you. Amen.

 

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[1]The New King James Version. 1982 (Zec 9:9-10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] God Grant It: Daily Devotions from C.F.W. Walther, Edited By: Gerhard B. Grabenhofer, By: C.F.W. Walther, Concordia Publishing House / 2005. pp. 10-11.