Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 7:10-8:8; 1 Peter 3:1-22
“Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation.” (Zechariah 9:9b)
With these words the prophet Zechariah speaks of the Day of the Lord, when the remnant of Judah would see their Righteous King finally come, as He had been long promised. For us, tomorrow begins a new season of the church year which focuses on this Day of the Lord as Judgment Day. On that last day, Jesus will return as He ascended, from the clouds with His angels and at the voice of the Archangel and the sound of the trumpet.
But this is not exactly how Zechariah saw the Day of the Lord, from back in His day. He foresaw Jesus coming, riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. The Holy Spirit granted Zechariah a vision of Palm Sunday, when Jesus first came into this world, as the incarnate son of the virgin, Mary. The prophet saw Jesus’ Day as His first entrance into this sinful world.
So which is it? Is it the Day of the Lord Jesus’ first arrival some 2000 years ago, or is it His second coming on Judgment Day? The answer is both! For the prophets of old were inspired by God to speak of the days of Jesus ministry on earth as well as the day of His imminent return as “the Day of the Lord”. These events were so far into the future for the Old Testament prophets that there was no need to distinguish between them.
Yet, there is another reason why both of these days of the Lord are treated similarly by the prophets. It is because these events, in total, comprise all that Christ Jesus comes to do for our salvation, as we confess it in the Creed. He was conceived, born, suffered, was crucified, died, was buried, descended to hell, rose, ascended to heaven, and finally will come to judge the living and the dead. All these events are related, and are necessary.
Both of the arrivals of Jesus are of a King. Jesus was that descendent of King David promised as the shoot from the stump of Jesse. He also established His kingdom of heaven on earth in the church, and promised to come back and take His cherished bride — the church, out of this valley of tears and sorrows to be with Himself forevermore in heaven.
Both of these arrivals of Jesus are as one who is just. Jesus was righteous, conceived without sin at His first coming, where He lived as a man under the Law perfectly in our stead. He comes a second time as the righteous Judge who will judge us not on our unrighteous acts, but on the fact that by faith we now have His righteousness as our own, as His gift.
Both of these arrivals of Jesus show Him bringing salvation. He came the first time as the one given the name of Jesus, for He would save His people from their sins. He returns to this world to rescue those whom He has saved and take them to their heavenly home, to the many-roomed mansion in paradise which He Himself has prepared for us all.
Behold, your king has come to you, and for you!
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.