Zechariah 9:9-12

by Rob James

Both Matthew 21 and John 12 quote the first verse of our reading for today. They say it was fulfilled when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey in the middle of a popular demonstration. Three of the Gospels also tell us that Jesus planned this scene with care. As he and a crowd approached the city, he sent disciples ahead to fetch the donkey.

What was Jesus doing? And what does it mean for us?

The Zechariah passage is our clue. The first four verses must have been in Jesus’ mind when he planned this action. Just as the prophets of old had sometimes done, Jesus would act out the message that God had given him––act it out for all to see. A victorious king is coming. But he comes in gentleness and humility. He comes to rule his people, to put an end to deadly conflict, to bring peace, and to set prisoners free.

The part we have to play in all of this is clear in outline. But we have to come up with the specifics. Our Lord wants to rule in us, for we are his people. In and through our plans, our actions, and our words, Jesus wants to bring peace, to put an end to strife, and to deliver those who are caught in the prisons of our day: poverty, poor education, lack of health care, or addiction.

So let’s hurry and fetch the donkey! Come Lord Jesus. Reign in us, we pray.