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First Sunday in Advent

The new Church Year has begun! For our devotion today, we read about Luke 19:28–40 in an excerpt from Concordia Commentary: Luke 9:51–24:53.

Scripture Readings

Jeremiah 33:14–16
Psalm 25:1–10
1 Thessalonians 3:9–13
Luke 19:28–40 or Luke 21:25–36

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

There is a special focus here on the colt, which had never been ridden. In the middle of this narrative Luke focuses the hearers’ attention on the colt (19:30). The description contains two main verbs, “you will find” and “bring,” two references to the colt (“colt” and “it”) and two participles, “tied up” and “loosing.” Luke will close his Jerusalem narrative with a similar reference to “a tomb hewn out of rock where there was not yet anyone lying” (23:53). Both the colt that had never been ridden and the tomb where no one had been laid are set apart for the holy purposes of a holy person (cf. Num 19:2; Deut 21:3; 1 Sam 6:7). Jesus is a king, and he must now receive royal privileges, for as the Son of God he is now the locale for God’s holy presence. He must enter the city as a king, for the Lord is now coming to his temple (Mal 3:1). The refrain in both parts of this section repeats the reason for the colt: “Because the Lord of it has need” (Lk 19:31; 19:34). In both the prediction section and the narrative section, the loosing of the colt is at the center. This is the key point of the preparations: to find a colt, loose it, and bring it to Jesus. That action, through the “sent ones” (19:32; cf. “apostles”), may remind the hearer of Jesus’ entire ministry of release. Through his ministers Jesus releases those bound by sin.

But the hearer still asks: Why the colt? The astute student of the OT knows from the prophecies that when the Messiah enters the city, he will do so upon a colt that no one has ridden. There is a clear echo of the promise of Jacob to the house of Judah in Gen 49:11: “Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes.” The “wine” and “blood of grapes” suggest the imminent outpouring of Jesus’ own blood. Furthermore, this colt represents both the royalty of the rider and, at the same time, his humility. This understanding comes from Zech 9:9, a prophecy that contains in itself a reference to the prophecy of Genesis. Yet between the messianic passage in Genesis and Zechariah’s prophecy (and the fulfillment here), there is considerable tension—the tension between a king and a humble servant—a tension Jesus embraces in himself and will now demonstrate in his actions in Jerusalem, where he is crowned as king on the cross, the focus of his humiliation and shame.

When great moments of action arrive in the narrative, Luke typically tells them simply and directly. The preparations of Jesus bear fruit as the colt is brought to him, garments are thrown over it, and Jesus’ disciples seat him on it. As Jesus journeys into the city, the disciples spread garments on the road before him. Jesus enters the city as a king. The royal acclamation is not the fulfillment of public sentiment, but of OT prophecy. The catechetical road to Jerusalem, “the city of the great King” (Mt 5:35), is now complete. The king comes to receive his kingship (Lk 19:11–28) by means of the cross.

Devotional reading is adapted from Concordia Commentary: Luke 9:51–24:53, pages 744-45 © 1997 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Hymn

Video is of “Advent Passacaglia: Savior of the Nations, Come” © 2017 Concordia Publishing House.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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