πŸ‘‘ Here Comes the Just

β€œBehold, thy King cometh unto thee: HE IS JUST, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass” (Zech. 9:9).

In a clear prediction of the Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew quoted these words the day He entered Jerusalem on a colt just days before His crucifixion:

β€œBehold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass” (Matt. 21:5).

It is always interesting to see the way in which the Old Testament is quoted in the New Testament. While many theologians find the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament to be problematic in many cases, there is often a doctrinal significance to the changes and omissions found in these quotations, and we believe that Matthew’s citation of Zechariah’s words here is no exception.

Did you notice that in Matthew’s quotation, the words β€œHe is just, and having salvation” are conspicuous by their absence? We feel this omission was purposeful on Matthew’s part, and instructive on our part. You see, at the time Zechariah made his prophecy, there was no doubt in his mind that when the day came for the Lord to fulfill this prophecy, He would be β€œjust,” and yet β€œhaving salvation.” The prophet didn’t yet understand how a holy God could give salvation to sinful men and still be β€œjust,” but his trust in God was implicit. He knew that God would never be so unjust as to sweep the sins of men under the rug, and sneak them in the back door of the kingdom of heaven when the devil wasn’t looking.

The Apostle Peter spoke about this very thing in his first epistle. Speaking of the salvation of souls (I Pet. 1:9), Peter added,

β€œOf which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently…” (I Pet. 1:10).

Peter then went on to make it clear that the prophets did not understand the glory that would follow the sufferings of Christ (I Pet. 1:11), and that this glory would include the glorious way that God dealt with the sins of men by having His Son pay for their sins with His death on Calvary’s Cross. These were some of the things that, as Peter says here, β€œthe angels desire to look into” (I Pet. 1:12).

Angels love to learn about the Almighty and all of His ways (Eph. 3:10), and we believe that in Old Testament times, they were as clueless as Zechariah and the rest of the prophets as to how the Lord could be β€œjust, and having salvation.” We feel their angelic curiosity about this was symbolized by the cherubim that overlooked the ark of the covenant. As they looked down at the mercy seat below their outstretched wings, they no doubt wondered how the blood of the bulls and goats that was sprinkled there could justly take away the sins of men.

On the day of our Lord’s β€œtriumphal entry” into Jerusalem, it was clear to Matthew that Zechariah’s prophecy was being fulfilled. His Messiah was indeed meek and lowly enough to enter the city of the great king sitting astride a baby donkey. What was not yet clear to him, however, was how He could be β€œjust, and having salvation.” We feel that this was the reason he purposely omitted that segment of the prophecy from his quotation.

It was the Apostle Paul who broke the story of how God could be β€œjust, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). Speaking of Christ, Paul revealed:

β€œWhom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins…” (Rom. 3:24,25).

Whenever we use our leafblower to sweep the front porch, we never have to lift the welcome mat. The tremendous blast of air from the leafblower is powerful enough to levitate the mat as it blows away all the dust and debris beneath and around it. This always makes us think of how, rather than sweeping our sins under the rug, the Lord Jesus Christ blew them away at the Cross on which He shed His blood!

And so it is, if you keep Paul’s revelation in mind, you can just picture the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem on that fateful day, and say with Zechariah: β€œHere comes the Just!” source

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