As Christ was drawing near the whole multitude of His disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying: "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
As all of you Latin scholars well know, this Season of Advent derives its name from the word adveniat = “the coming or arrival.” Or if you weren’t students of ancient Mediterranean languages, now you do know. Because of the nature of this season, we begin it with the reading of the Triumphal Entry, the record of Jesus’ entrance into the holy city of
The Triumphal Entry is the coming of Jesus to fulfill His mission to redeem this fallen world by His sacrificial death. Jesus is present to bring salvation to sinners, just as the prophet Jeremiah had spoken: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of
Jesus’ arrival on that Sunday in
Even though Jesus enters on a lowly colt, the people recognize Him as a King; but not just any king, their promised King, a divinely-promised King. This is no tyrant or foreign ruler who receives disdain and hatred from conquered enemies. No, Jesus enters triumphantly, not out of His own authority, but with a divinely-appointed position: He is “the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Because Jesus comes in the Lord’s name, He comes with a purpose. He will fulfill the divine prophecies. The source of eternal righteousness enters King David’s capital city. Salvation is brought to
The city’s rejoicing echoes the heavenly message that was given to a different crowd, in a different town of
Peace in heaven, peace on earth: that is what the promised Christ would bring. He comes to reconcile man and God, the sinful to the sinless. He comes to bring life in its fullness to those cowering in the shadow of physical and spiritual death. That is what the entire story of Christ is: how God-incarnate, deity in our own flesh, brings righteousness to a fallen world. Salvation from our sins is given through Jesus, just as His name tells us. The righteous anger of God at our sinfulness is removed from humanity, the pinnacle of His creation which rebelled against Him. A divine peace is made on earth with effects in heaven.
But as the Christ brings that salvation to us here on earth, His arrival is not one of extreme splendor. Instead, Jesus’ arrival in
That is part of the mystery of Christ’s incarnation: salvation is brought to the world through a simple Man; redemption is made by God veiled in humility. Only the truth of the Lord God’s word reveals Jesus’ true identity. But that is only so regarding His first coming. That humility and simplicity of Jesus’ first coming is gone: glory and majesty are found in its place. Every eye shall see Him and know that He is Lord of all, the Judge of the living and the dead. Thus this season of Advent takes on a different character for all of Christ’s disciples.
What you anticipate is not what the people of
So Advent becomes more a season of preparation for you. You recall how your Lord first came to this world as our Savior. But then you focus on how He will return to be your Judge. Because that is what Christ’s role for you will be, you make yourselves ready, preparing for His arrival with the means that your Lord has provided. Through confession, renewal of baptismal vows, participation in the Lord’s Supper, and hearing the Gospel of your Savior more often, you prepare yourselves for the promised Day of Christ’s Arrival.
Those are the things that bring Christ’s salvation to you. They are the way that you rely on Jesus and His merits, each time acknowledging that “The Lord is our righteousness.” You seek no perfection in yourselves, but ask your Lord to judge you at His return in mercy, looking only at what He has done for you. You desire from your Savior what
That is what this Advent Season is about for all who follow Jesus. You recognize how Christ’s arrival in
Christ’s Advent brings to you the fulfillment of what the Lord God also promised through the Old Testament prophets. Jeremiah made such a promise to us: “In those days
So prepare yourselves during this Advent Season for that great day, when you will experience the same exuberance as the people of
T In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.