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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Smith :: Portraits of Christ

Don Smith :: Zec 9; Jhn 12; The Coming King

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Portraits of Christ
“The Coming King” (Zechariah 9:9 and John 12:9-16)

“Hail to the Chief” is America’s official presidential anthem.

  • It is a ceremonial march preceded by four ruffles and flourishes.
  • An honorary Marine band usually plays it to announce the president’s arrival at public ceremonies.
  • The words of this anthem are, “Hail to the Chief! We have chosen for the nation. Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all. Hail to the Chief! As we pledge cooperation in proud fulfillment of a great noble call. Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander. This you will do. That’s our strong, firm belief. Hail to the one we selected as commander, Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief!”
  • It was first played on March 4, 1837 for President Martin Van Buren’s inauguration.
  • Since then it has been played for all our presidents.
  • During President John F. Kennedy’s funeral “Hail to the Chief” was played as a slow, somber dirge.
  • It is also to be noted that at President Richard Nixon’s second inauguration placards were shown along the parade route which read, “Jail to the Thief.”

Israel also had its own royal anthem.

  • It was a Psalm to announce the arrival of kings as they approached Jerusalem.
  • Psalm 118 was a processional sung with jubilant expressions of thanksgiving.
  • Clearly it was written for antiphonal use, with solo voices, choruses, and congregational refrains.
  • Even though it was a royal welcome for the succession of Israel’s kings, there was only one king for whom the words would find perfect fulfillment.
  • Almost two thousand years ago, a descendent of King David, a carpenter and Rabbi from Nazareth, approached Jerusalem riding on a donkey.
  • On that Sunday, He rode through a multitude who was there for the Passover festivities.
  • The crowd spread out palm fronds along the way in celebration of his arrival.
  • Unknowingly, they were participants in fulfilling ancient prophesies concerning their coming Messiah.
  • What were these prophesies?
  • And what was their significance to Jesus’ on Palm Sunday?
  • John 12:9-16 connects the Biblical dots that led to this day.
  • Before we look at our text, we will first look at Luke 24:44-46.
  • Here we discover Christ’s explanation of His place in prophetic Scriptures.

He taught His disciples that He came to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Christ. (Luke 24:44-48)

  1. He said all things written about him in the Law, Prophets and Psalms‘must be fulfilled. (Genesis 49:9-11; Psalm 22; 69:9; Daniel 9:24-27)
    • There were a number of prophecies fulfilled on Palm Sunday.
    • For example, Jacob’s blessing of Judah in Genesis foretells of one from his seed who would become like a majestic roaring lion-king.
    • “Shiloh” was His name, which mean, “Peacemaker” or “Prince of Peace.”
    • He held the royal scepter of Israel’s kings.
    • He rode the colt of a donkey to be bound by Israel, the vine (Zechariah 9:9).
    • His garments would be covered with blood shed by the hands of Israel.
    • More than a thousand years later the prophet Daniel prophesied about the timing of His coming.
    • In Daniel 9:24-27 he foresaw seventy weeks (literally seventy-sevens of weeks) or 490 years determined by God.
    • It would take 49 years for Ezra and Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
    • After that there would be another 434 years before the Messiah would come to Jerusalem at the beginning of that week to present himself as Israel’s King.
    • At the end of that week, Daniel prophesied that the king would be cut off.
    • His death would bring reconciliation for repentant sinners.
    • That leaves an interlude of history before the last week of Daniel is fulfilled.
    • At the end of that week, Christ will come in glory and judgment.
    • Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem came just as Daniel said, 483 years after the Lord gave him this prophecy.
    • Daniel’s prophesies relate to Christ’s entrance to Jerusalem, which came in BC 483.
    • Therefore, Palm Sunday is the beginning of the Passover week.
    • The next Sunday would bring the triumph of the ages—the day Israel’s Deliverer would be raised from the dead.
    • Jesus had told His disciples about these things before they happened, but they just didn’t understand how these prophecies would be fulfilled.
    • Luke 18:31-34 captures what Jesus told them before this momentous week, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.‘For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.‘They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”‘But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.”
    • Jesus knew the hour of His coronation, crucifixion and resurrection.
  2. He knew these things were written about Him, but He also knew He must suffer, die and rise from the dead. (Psalm 22; Isaiah 50:6; 53; Zechariah 12:10; Jonah 1:17; Psalm 16:10; Acts 4:28)
    • He knew from Isaiah 50:6 that His back would be struck forty times by a scourge, His beard plucked out and His face covered in spittle.
    • He knew from Psalm 22 He would be forsaken by His Father, while He suffered alone in the dark.
    • He knew they would divide His garments and cast lots for them.
    • He knew He would be surrounded by Romans soldiers with His hands and feet pierced.
    • He knew He would be stared at and mocked.
    • His bones would be painfully out of joint from the full weight of His body hanging on the cross.
    • His heart would melt like wax and his strength and mouth would dry up.
    • He knew He would die in the dust of the earth.
    • He also understood from Isaiah 53:4-5, that it was God the Father who was pouring out His wrath on Him for the sins of humanity. “He was smitten by God, and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
    • He also knew he would rise from the dead on the third day, even as Jonah was spit out of the fish after being in its belly three days and three nights.
    • Psalm 16:10-11 assured Him that the Father would resurrect and glorify Him.
    • It says, “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
    • Christ’s disciples didn’t understand these things until after Christ’s resurrection.
    • All of this was later explained by Peter in Acts 4:27-29 to the very people who condemned Jesus. “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”
  3. Jesus also knew it was written that Christ must be preached to all the world as a witness to all ethnic peoples and then the end would come. (Matthew 24:14)
    • These and many other Scriptures concerning the Christ were known to Him and later to His disciples.
    • This became the evidence used by the early church disciples and preachers to substantiate that Jesus was the long-anticipated Savior of the world.
    • Do these Scriptures convince you that Jesus is the Christ?
    • But there were more prophecies fulfilled on Palm Sunday.

Each prophecy was fulfilled by Christ down to every detail. (John 12:12-15)

  • Weeks before Passover, Jesus went to Bethany where his friend Lazarus lay dead in a tomb for four days.
  • Jesus stood before the tomb and commanded men to roll the tombstone away.
  • Then he cried out, “Lazarus come forth!”
  • His friend came out of the darkness of the grave still wrapped in burial linens.
  • Many people where there that day to witness this amazing miracle.
  • News of this quickly got back to Jerusalem.
  • John 11:53 tells from that day on, the religious leaders of Jerusalem plotted Jesus’ death.
  • They also planned to kill Lazarus because they couldn’t tolerate having him walk around the people as evidence of Jesus’ power over sin and death.
  • We are told many Jews believed in Jesus.
  1. The Psalms foretold of this plot against the Son of God. (Psalm 21:11; John 11:53)
    • Psalm 2:1-2 asks, “Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed (Christ).”
    • The events of the Passover week were directed by God like a great maestro conducting an orchestra to make sure every note was played perfectly and well.
    • So at the beginning of the 69th week of Daniel, on the first day of the week, 6 days before Passover, Jesus came to Jerusalem riding on a donkey just as the prophet foretold centuries before.
    • Jesus came to Jerusalem surrounded by his disciples and a large crowd traveling from Bethany who had witnessed Lazarus’ resurrection.
    • This procession was met by another large Passover crowd coming out of the city, when they heard Jesus was coming.
    • When the two crowds merged together, they began laying down palm fronds before Jesus as He made its way up from the Kidron Valley to the Temple.
    • They did this as prescribed in Leviticus, to begin the first day of the Passover week by waving palm fronds and rejoicing before the Lord, their God.
    • As Jesus drew near the city Luke 19:41-44 tells what went on in Christ’s mind.
    • He saw Jerusalem & wept over its future, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.‘For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,‘and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
    • He not only knew His hour to die had come but also knew that the hour of Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70 was approaching because they rejected Him.
    • Not aware of their fate, the multitude began to chant and sing Psalm 118.
    • “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
    • The word Hosanna means, “Save us now!”
    • It was a grand celebration for the Son of David, the king they hoped would deliver Israel from Roman occupation.
  2. Psalm 118 was written for Christ’s coronation. (Leviticus 23:40; Psalm 118:19-29; 24:7-10; Luke 19:42)
    • It was in anticipation of their King coming to His temple.
    • The Golden Gate is the entrance through which He would come.
    • The two arches of this gate are called “Repentance” and “Mercy.”
    • Every time the people entered these gates, they were reminded they couldn’t approach God unless they first repented of their sin and accepted God’s mercy.
    • Jesus Christ was the way through which the righteous must enter.
    • He was their salvation.
    • He came to forgive Israel, but they rejected the Chief Cornerstone.
    • This day was not a surprise—it was the Lord’s doing.
    • It was a day intended to exalt God and give Him thanks, because He is good and His mercy endures forever.
    • Psalm 24 asks who is the King of Glory and then answers, “The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.”
    • The same multitude who shouted, “Hosanna! Lord save us now!” on Sunday, would cry out on Friday, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
    • Even this was anticipated by the Scriptures.
  3. John quotes Zechariah as further evidence that Jesus was the Prince of Peace.
    • Zechariah 9:9 says, “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.”
    • Jesus was the Christ promised long ago, Who would come in humility and peace.
    • The Pharisees were annoyed and angered by the display of adoration for Jesus.
    • As Jesus rode through the multitudes, the Pharisees yelled out, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples,” for this display of misplaced worship.
    • But Jesus quickly replied, “I tell you that if these people should keep silent, the stones of this city would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:39-40)
    • This was the day God ordained, nothing could hinder or thwart His plan.
    • We are told even Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand the significance of this day, even though they had been taught these things before by Jesus.

Jesus’ disciples remembered the significance of Christ’s Words in John 12:16.

  1. But not before He appeared to them after His resurrection. (Luke 19:39; Luke 24:25-26)
    • “He mildly rebuked them by saying, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them [again] in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”
    • In Luke 24:44-45 he reiterated these truths to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.”
    • As they read the Old Testament Scriptures, they were to see Christ was veiled in prophetic words, types and shadows, but He was now revealed in glory.
    • That is what they later preached to all the nations of the world.
  2. Jesus had also told them that He would come again. (Matthew 25:31; Revelation 19:11)
    • He would come in heavenly glory along with His holy angels.
    • Revelation portrays Him as a mighty warrior whose name is “Faithful and True.”
    • It will be very different from His first Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem.
    • He will come to make war with his enemies and righteously judge them.
    • Then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

In Jerusalem today, the Temple Mount is off limits to Israel.

  • The Golden Gate has been sealed-up for centuries with stone and barbed wire.
  • In front of these gates, Islamic graves have been purposely positioned to drive away Israel’s Messiah.
  • Islam believes Christ will come again, but they believe He will not enter the city when He sees the graves because a good Nasserite would not defile Himself.
  • As early as the fourth century AD, Jewish pilgrims have stood before these gates praying, “O Thou, the only Lord, toward this house, the Light of the World. Toward Thou, O my God, I set myself awaiting Thy righteousness and hoping for salvation through Thee.”
  • Israel rejected the King of Glory who passed through those gates two thousand years ago.
  • He was their salvation, yet they turned away from Him.
  • Some in Israel await their Messiah, but they are uncertain about His identity and ministry.
  • Others have no expectation or hope in their Messiah.

How about you? What are you waiting for?

  • Is it a government bailout? A prosperous economy? Or your day of death?
  • Palm Sunday was intended to exalt Christ as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
  • As the Scriptures predicted Christ’s first coming, the Scriptures also warn of His coming again.
  • He came as a humble servant, riding on a donkey, carrying His own cross and giving up His life, so sinners might be forgiven and declared righteous.
  • But Christ is coming again.
  • He will come as an angry Lamb, as a mighty Warrior, and as a righteous Judge.
  • What does this day have in store for you?
  • Will it be a day of joy or sadness?
  • Will it be a day of being united with Christ or a day of being eternally separated from Him in eternal darkness?
  • Today is the day of salvation.
  • The next Palm Sunday will be the day of reckoning.
  • For those in Christ it is the blessed Hope.
  • For those who reject Christ it will be the Day of Judgment!
  • What are you waiting for?
  • What will the next Palm Sunday be for you?
Hab 3:17-19; Rejoice in the God of Our Salvation ← Prior Section
Mal; The Messenger Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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