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Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled By Jesus Christ

Chapter Five

The King Enters Jerusalem

Prophecy - Zechariah 9:9
Fulfillment - Matthew 21:1-11(5)

The prophecies and fulfillment in the above cited Scriptures have captured the attention of a great many Christians through the years. The events which are described were apparently of great interest to those who witnessed them approximately two-thousand years ago. We can reasonably assume that Jesus was the subject of many conversations during His years of public ministry on this earth. He fed multitudes, healed the sick, and even raised the dead. So when Jesus began to enter Jerusalem in the manner described by God’s prophet; understandably, people began to notice Jesus and were caught up in the excitement of the crowd that gathered.

Had we been there, we might well have been in the crowd that gathered and witnessed the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, the holy city. Very likely a great deal of speculation would have been ventured by those who lined the streets, for Jesus was a totally unique individual. No one else has ever performed such wonderful miracles as Jesus. His power was truly phenomenal and many living at that time saw His miraculous power at work. Surely, they were made to wonder about it all. How could they not have been interested in Him? The Bible tells us that as He entered Jerusalem on that day so long ago, “a great multitude” gathered. Perhaps many of them believed Jesus was the Messiah and thus treated Him royally.

Even in our day many people still consider Jesus as a Person of tremendous interest. He was born of a virgin named Mary. Who other than the Messiah could make such a claim? He also lived without sin and willingly died for our sins, then rose to live again. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, many today believe that Jesus is the Son of God and they bless His holy name. Thank God, multiplied millions around the world love Him and literally hunger to hear Jesus proclaimed through the preaching of the Gospel. Vast numbers of saved people devote their very lives to His cause and glory. We acknowledge that He is King of kings (Revelation 19:16) and we continue to proclaim His praise as we await His coming.

Let us now step back in time to look at the actual prophecy which Christ fulfilled approximately five-hundred years after Zechariah wrote it. There were three simple truths which God’s redeemed children need to understand and they will be discussed in the remainder of this study.

(1). “Rejoice . . . Behold thy king cometh unto thee.” It is an interesting fact that in Scripture Jesus is often presented as king; but why? One reason is that kings exercised authority and power as they ruled over the subjects of their kingdom. Many people wanted Jesus to be their king. On one occasion, after He had fed a crowd of five-thousand men, plus women and children; some of the people wanted to make Him their king. The Bible tells us, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone” (John 6:15). Jesus had no interest in becoming their earthly king.

Though He sought no earthly kingdom, near the end of His earthly pilgrimage Pilate declared that Jesus was King of the Jews. He even stated that fact by means of a sign on the cross. That sign at the top of the cross angered quite a few of the Jews who read it. In fact, they were so upset they went to Pilate and asked him to change the statement to read “that he said I am king of the Jews.” Pilate refused and allowed the words initially written to remain intact (John 19:19-22). Perhaps Pilate understood something many do not grasp today.

John also understood the kingship of Christ for he was inspired to write, “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev 19:16). As King above all other kings, He rules and reigns today and the vast universe is under His power and control. Daniel 4:35 states, “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” As our King, we ought to yield ourselves to His will and serve Him in His spiritual kingdom on earth.

(2). “Rejoice . . . He is just and having salvation.” It should be noted that the New Testament records do not include this segment of the prophecy. Why? Only God knows His reasons. However, this central part of the text is in reality the heart of the passage. From the New Testament perspective, salvation is of paramount importance. Some have suggested that other words such as victory or deliverance may be suitable substitutes for the word salvation. Since Zechariah used the word salvation, it is certainly appropriate for our use today. Of course, we recognize that Jesus gave victory and deliverance in the process of saving us. Paul said, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57). Jesus gained the victory over death and the grave and in doing so, He gave to us the victory over Satan and sin. Victory? Yes, but Paul also reminds us of our deliverance through Christ’s redeeming work. He wrote, “Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us” (II Corinthians 1:10). There is no greater death than death in sin and no greater life than life in Christ. Yes, Jesus gave us victory and deliverance but more is expressed by the word “salvation.”

The word translated salvation in Zechariah’s prophecy seems to come from the Hebrew word “Yasha.” which means: to be saved, have safety. What a beautiful declaration of what Christ accomplished for us by His death on the cross. He saved us by doing three things: (A) He took a body of flesh. 1 Timothy 3:16 says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” As God He could not die but as man with a body of flesh, He could and did die. Hebrews 2:9, says, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (B) He took our sins and died for us. Paul rejoiced to say, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (II Corinthians 15:3). He had no sins of His own (I Peter 2:21-22) so when He died for sins, they were sins which we had committed against God. (C) He became our “Passover” by shedding His precious atoning blood in our behalf (I Corinthians 5:7). What a glorious hope is expressed in Ephesians 1:7. Paul wrote, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Truly, as the Son of God, Christ Jesus has saved us when no one else could do so.

Peter held Christ forth as the only hope for sinners to be saved for heaven and glory. He said, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Eternity is too important to rest our hopes upon any other than this Saviour prophesied by Zechariah.

(3). “Rejoice . . . Lowly, and riding upon an ass.” Apparently, this was to become a means of identifying the King Who would have salvation but it would also manifest His meekness. According to Matthew 21:5, the prophesied King would be “meek.” It is a subject which is often misunderstood. The world thinks that to be meek means you are weak. Even Christians have difficulty in grasping the fact that meekness is really inner strength and self control. It may appear as mildness on the outside, but such self control can only be obtained from a deep spiritual inner strength. We are told in Numbers 12:3 that Moses was a meek man, but he is not the person prophesied of by Zechariah.

Clearly, it was Jesus of Whom the prophet prophesied and declared to be meek. As we read the teachings of Christ in the Beatitudes, we understand that He taught His followers to also be meek. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Jesus even described Himself as a meek Person. In the beautiful invitation of Matthew 11:28- 29, He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Thus, as His followers, we are to imitate His meekness.

The word “lowly” in Zechariah 9:9, was changed by God to “meek” in Matthew 21:5; yet, both writers described Jesus as a king riding upon an “ass,” thereby showing the consistency of the two passages. It seems divinely designed that we might consider the humility of Christ, because in the Old Testament humble is the predominant meaning of the word meek. The humility of Christ was indeed manifested as He took the form of sinful man. Paul said, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8). While the people of Jerusalem probably did not understand that God had condescended to live in a body of flesh, they could see and comprehend that a king meekly rode on an ass. The prophecy foretold it and expectant people witnessed its fulfillment.

Jesus had on other occasions entered Jerusalem but apparently not in this precise manner. As He approached Jerusalem, people no doubt recognized Him as the miracle worker Who had fed thousands, healed the sick and even on occasions raised the dead. They came to Him, rallied around Him and praised Him with their “Hosannas.” They laid garments and branches before Him as they probably had done for many dignitaries. And so He entered Jerusalem that day so long ago, as the meek King carried on the back of a lowly animal, just as the ancient man of God had prophesied. Every indication is that they did “rejoice” that day in celebration of His coming to them.

Does your heart rejoice today? Are there praises from your lips for this King of kings? Have you freely given to Him your worship and committed your allegiance to Him? There are many reasons why we should. First of all, He is our King (I Timothy 6:15). Secondly, the prophecies of Christ are indeed timeless truth even as He is timeless and lives forever (Hebrews 7:25). And third, God did exactly what He said when He prophesied that Jesus would come; God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Yet above it all, Jesus came as a meek King and brought salvation through His shed blood and sacrificial death. God’s amazing grace was purposed in Christ and bestowed upon all His elect. Today, this ancient prophecy continues to fill hearts with renewed hope and deep spiritual joy. May Jesus be glorified in it all. Amen!

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This page last updated on November 1, 2015