Advent Devotional | Day 24: Jesus and the King’s Entry to Jerusalem
Jesus ye Obong edukde ke Jerusalem
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
– Zechariah 9:9
A nation’s king returns
In June 2023, the arrival of the President from his first international trip after his inauguration, escorted into the city by a convoy of over one hundred cars on sealed roads with loud sirens, generated a public outcry. Fuel subsidies had just been abolished, inflicting untold economic hardship on citizens. For my mum, the cost of fuelling her generator (in the absence of power) increased, and my sisters have to walk long distances to minimize transportation costs. Church attendance and giving have dropped. Morale is low, hope for our nation lags, and some Christians are losing faith.
Zion’s King and Jesus enters Jerusalem
In contrast to the situation described above, Zechariah 9:9-17 details the arrival of a king in Jerusalem who brings blessings to his people. After defeating the nations in judgment (Zechariah 9:1-8), the Lord comes to Jerusalem to reestablish His royal rule and restore His people. Daughter Zion (God’s covenant people) is commanded to exult because of the expected king who rules in righteousness and offers salvation to Israel. Drawing from Jacob’s blessings on Judah in Genesis 49:10-11, the prophet portrays this king as humble yet with universal dominion. With no military equipment in the land, the Messianic king’s rule is peaceful, and He proclaims peace to the nations (Zechariah 9:9-10).
Zechariah’s prophecy received fulfilment in the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11). At that time, expectations and hopes for the Davidic Messiah were high. The people’s conception was a warrior king who would bring deliverance from Rome and restoration of Israel’s former glory (Luke 1:68-75; Acts 1:6). At His entry, the multitude greeted Him with acclamations of praise. However, dismissing any revolutionary or military intentions, Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt, a declaration of His agenda of peace. This humble king is the suffering servant who died on the cross for the sin of His people, reconciling and restoring us to God (Ephesians 2:15-17). Yet He is also the conquering king! Zechariah’s prophecy will receive complete fulfilment when Christ comes again to bring salvation to those walking in His ways as they wait for Him and judgment upon those who refuse His reign (Matthew 25:31-46).
The King brings restoration to His People
The world’s model of kingship is lordship and the exercise of authority for its own sake (Matthew 20:25; Nehemiah 5:15). This occurs in my country, where leadership is for self-advantage and the advantage of allies. Subsequently, there is social unrest and insecurity inflicted by militant groups, herders, bandits, kidnappers, and unknown gunmen. In contrast to the far-from-perfect rule of these earthly kings, Zechariah describes how the Lord rules justly for the blessing of His people. As a result of His covenant, He delivers His suffering and exiled people from captivity. He blesses them exceedingly and employs them according to His purposes Zechariah 9:11–13). As a protective shield, He grants this community victory in battle. He shepherds them with His providential care. As jewels, he gives them beauty and worth. He restores their land, making it productive for health and sustenance (Zechariah 9:15–17).
This king inspires hope amongst believers in my nation. Economic hardship drives many to Him. Disappointment with and alienation from national leaders drives many to Him. His reign brings blessing, and He can be trusted in distressing times.
As we celebrate King Jesus amidst real hardship this Advent season, may we trust His grace and presence and hope in the coming blessings of His reign. God’s sovereign hand is at work through the changing affairs of our nations, and God’s just government guarantees ultimate security, provision, and peace. May we rejoice in hope and be patient in tribulation (Romans 12:12) as we wait for the return of our soon-coming king.
Affy Adeleye participates in the Langham Preaching Women’s Forum. She is Nigerian, but resides in Peduase, Ghana, where she operates a small retreat and counselling centre called CYARA Rest Haven.