Online Worship for Epiphany Three, Sunday January 22, 2023
Sermon for Epiphany Three – 1,25,15 - Sunday January 22, 2023
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
In the Name of Jesus the Christ,
Light in this world of Darkness,
The True Glory of the Church,
The Righteous King of Peace,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Blood –
“Be Happy…ecstatic…jump for joy!”
We don’t usually need to be told to be happy, do we?
“The love of your life just agreed to marry you…you should be happy.”
“The job you wanted and applied for is yours…you should be happy.”
“These are the keys to your new car…you should be happy.”
Happiness, joy and hope spring from different events and things…and they don’t usually have to be prompted…unless we haven’t heard or don’t know. In fact, if someone urges us to ‘be happy’ or even ‘jump for joy’ we might be immediately skeptical and wonder or ask: “Why should I be happy and jump for joy?”
In the Word of God before us this morning the Daughter of Zion and Jerusalem…and we are urged to rejoice and even shout for joy. We are also told why we have real reason to be happy and jump for joy…because our King is coming and in fact has come to us. Furthermore, He is pictured and described so that we may certainly recognize him. Our happiness today and every day is to spring from who He is, what he brings and offers to us all.
In order that we sinners, who have a natural born learning problem, may grow in faith from these words, we pray: “Sanctify us by Your Truth, O Lord, Your Word is Truth.” Amen.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!”
When I read these words the first two questions that come to mind are…
1) Just who exactly are these ladies?
2) Should we be reading their mail?
Well, first of all the Daughter of Zion and the Daughter of Jerusalem are the same lady…but she isn’t really a lady properly speaking. The Daughter of Zion and the Daughter of Jerusalem are the same person described in two similar ways. Actually, Zion was a hill in the southeast corner of Jerusalem. The Daughter of Zion is an expression that describes all those who in faith are eagerly waiting the Coming of the LORD.
In both the Old and the New Testament, all those who believe in the True God are pictured as a unit in a number of different ways. For example…
Believers are called the City of God (Psalm 46:4) for they are many, like a city, established by God.
Believers are called the People of God (1 Peter 2:10) because they belong to God.
Believers are called the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23) for though they are many they make up one unit.
Believers are also called the Bride of Christ (Revelation 21:2) for they are joined to Christ in the most intimate of relationships.
Believers are here called the Daughter of Zion and Jerusalem…and as those who trust in the Christ, these words are also meant for us – this isn’t someone else’s mail – it’s ours!
We are urged here to join the remnant of believers in Judah to be glad and express our joy in song. We are not to be reserved in our expressions of joy, but like those who shout when entering into battle, we are to cry out with joy. We are to be overflowing with a happiness that cannot be contained….
So is that how we feel when we gather here for worship? Do we feel like we have to keep a lid on it, to be reserved in our singing and praise to our God? If those who were still waiting for the Savior to come were urged to sing out with joy…then how much more should we sing who know the Savior has come and has won our Salvation!?!
Let it be your love for the LORD, your joy in what He has done for you that moves you to sing out! If you don’t think you sing well or are concerned you can’t carry a tune then remember…you sing to the LORD not to the person sitting behind or in front of you. We don’t sing to impress one another but to express our faith and give praise to the Lord Christ our King.
Let us rejoice and should aloud…because of our King:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
Some years ago, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died and was succeeded by his younger half-brother, Salman bin Abdulaziz. As soon as he was named successor, the news media began introducing the new King of Saudi Arabia to Americans. He was described in many ways, but no one described as righteous…and that’s fine with me because there is only one truly righteous King.
We use the word ‘righteous’ in more than one way. When a police officer shoots someone in self-defense, it’s called a ‘righteous kill’, meaning justified, warranted. When young people like a band’s music they might say it has a ‘righteous sound’ meaning cool…I guess.
When the LORD describes the Messiah King as Righteous…He doesn’t mean cool. In this case the word righteous refers to someone who thinks and lives according to God’s Law. A person who is righteous is obedient to the laws of God, is upright, honest, virtuous and pious. When righteous is used of the Promised Savior, the Messiah King, it reminds us that He, and he alone is sinless and perfect before God. He is Himself Righteous and Holy.
We may use the word righteous…but by birth and nature we aren’t righteous. God’s Holy Law demands in simple language that we be righteous (cf. Micah 6:8, ESV), yet day in and day out we show ourselves to be unrighteous in the sight of God and man by both our words and our actions. Every day we do things that God forbids and leave undone what God commands. God’s Law doesn’t only condemn words and actions but the evil thoughts that run through our minds. We are unrighteous sinners, condemned by God’s Law.
Yet we are urged to rejoice and shout aloud because our King is righteous and brings salvation. King Jesus, the Christ, always kept God’s commandments perfectly. He perfectly did what God demands and refused to do what God forbade. He was righteous in every way and delighted God, our Heavenly Father. When He was baptized and formally entered upon the work of salvation, God the Father declared from heaven (Matthew 3:17, ESV):
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
We rejoice and shout, we sing praise to God because the perfect righteousness of Christ is credited to our accounts by faith and eternal salvation has become our purchased possession. Jesus is the Righteous One (cf. 1 John 2:1) because He was perfectly obedient to God’s Law. We are counted as righteous by God through faith in Jesus. When God looks upon those who trust in His Son, He sees them as righteous in His sight. We are not counted as righteous on the basis of our actions…but on the basis of Christ’s perfect life, so it is written (Romans 4:4-8, ESV):
“Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Let us sing praise to God because He sent His Son to be Righteous and then credited us with His perfection.
“Wait a second, Pastor how do we know that Jesus is this Righteous King who brings Salvation?”
We know because He is also pictured, described unmistakably as:
…humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The Spirit of God describes this Righteous King as humble…for He is a King, who places the needs of His People first, even before His personal needs. While some kings only pretend to know how their subjects live, the Christ of God came down from heaven and became human, subject to the Law of God. He humbled Himself and became mortal. He was tempted to sin as we are but did not sin, being perfectly obedient to the point of death (Philippians 2:5-8). He came that we might have kindness, justice, salvation, mercy and every good thing.
But it isn’t his humility that strikes us in this verse, it’s the visible sign given. He is described as coming mounted on a humble beast of burden, riding on the colt of a female donkey.
We recognize this King of Righteousness as Jesus because on Palm Sunday He rode into Jerusalem seated as here described upon the back of the colt of a female donkey. If the visible sign were not enough, the Gospel of Matthew records both the event and its true meaning. Jesus told his disciples (Matthew 21:2-5, ESV):
“Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ ”
However, by God’s grace, we recognize Jesus as our Righteous King and Savior not only because of what happened on Palm Sunday, but in the days that followed. We celebrate His Birth and sing His praises because of what happened on Good Friday.
On Good Friday…our King won the victory and obtained our eternal rescue. He took upon Himself our sin, which separated us from God. He carried our guilt, which makes our consciences groan. He humbly died in order to pay our debt and paid the price to reconcile us to God. He crushed our enemy and took away His power…and on the third day rose again…proving that even death holds no power over Him or those who belong to Him.
God kept His promise…and established through Christ the peace here pictured and promised:
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
In His Word, God speaks to us in different ways, in ways that we can understand. In some places God speaks plainly and literally. In other places the LORD speaks figuratively and in picture language.
When speaking of the Peace that the Promised Savior would bring, the LORD through the Prophets often spoke in picture language. The Prophet Isaiah, for example, spoke of the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the young goat lying together (cf. Isaiah 11:6-9) and of people turning their weapons into tools for planting (Isaiah 2:4).
The Prophet Zechariah also speaks of the peace that the Christ the Righteous King brings in picture language. Where Christ, the Righteous King rules there is no need of chariot, war horse and battle bow. Where Christ the King rules there is no war and no fighting without – because all enemies have been defeated and victory is won. Where Christ the King rules there should be no fighting within either. Where Christ’s people gather there should be no discord, no grumbling, no fighting – for we together serve one master – Christ the King. He rules in our hearts. He admonishes, encourages and strengthens us for service in His Word.
Christ’s Kingdom is not limited to geographical boundaries like earthly kingdoms. Oh, Satan may try with His allies in this world to stop the spread of Christ’s Kingdom…but still His witnesses go out to the ends of the earth. Where Christ’s Word is proclaimed and the sacraments administered… the peace of God comes to sinners once at enmity with God.
Be Happy and shout for joy…
Christ the Righteous King has come and you have been declared righteous by faith in His life, death and resurrection.
Salvation is yours…you have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
Eternal Peace is yours… as a subject of Christ the King!