The Old Testament Lesson for the Sunday of the Passion (Palm Sunday) is written in the Book of the Twelve, the prophet Zechariah. The text is Zechariah 9:9-12 and gives us the prophecy of Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem on what is now called the Sunday of the Passion. This is the beginning of Holy Week and all that is included with the events leading to the most important celebration of the church year—Easter.
The appointed Gospel for the day does not focus on the triumphal entry, which is quite unfortunate considering the important ramifications and the prophetic fulfillments involved. The pericopal system does list John 12:12-19 for the Palm Sunday processional and I would strongly recommend using this text in your service to reinforce this Messianic event which was very significant to the Jews. Jesus is not just another king in the line of David—this is the new King David! Hosanna in the highest! The people in and around Jerusalem that day knew exactly what they were crying out and what they were doing.
In addition to the Davidic references in verses 9-10, we also read allusions to other Christological figures. In verse 11, the reference to being set free from the waterless pit is a direct connection to Joseph in Genesis 37 (and perhaps Daniel and the pit of lions). Then, the “restoration of double” in verse 12 points us back to Job 42 when the LORD restores all of Job’s wealth times two. Each of these characters, David, Joseph, and Job, point to Christ in very important ways, and the fact the Jews of Jerusalem recognize the fulfillment of these verses in Jesus is a powerful statement. It is a proclamation not only of Jesus being the Messiah, but also their understanding of the Messianic/Christological nature of the Old Testament and the figures therein.
Each of these characters, David, Joseph, and Job, point to Christ in very important ways, and the fact the Jews of Jerusalem recognize the fulfillment of these verses in Jesus is a powerful statement.
9:9 גִּילִי (gi-Li) root: גיל (gheel) Qal: “to shout in exultation; rejoice”
הָרִיעִי (ha-Ri-i) root: רוע (roo-ah) Hiphil: “to rejoice; shout in triumph; cheer”
צַדִּיק וְנוֹשָׁע הוּא (tzad-Dik ve-no-Sha Hu) “righteous and having salvation (is) He” Make note of the nominal sentence with the pronoun “He.”
עָנִי (a-Ni) “lowly; humble; low estate”
וְרֹכֵב (ve-ro-Chev) root: רכב (raw-kab) Qal: “to ride; to be riding”
חֲמוֹר (cha-Mor) “donkey; ass”
עַיִר (A-yir) “male donkey”
אֲתֹנוֹת (a-to-Not) from: אָתוֹן (aw-thone) “female donkey; she-ass”
9:10 וְהִכְרַתִּי (ve-hich-rat-ti) root: כרת (kaw-rath) Hiphil: “to cut; cut off” This could also be translated using the causative sense of the Hiphil as: “I will cause to be cut off.” Note how God is the causal agent here.
קֶשֶׁת (Ke-shet) “bow”
וּמָשְׁלוֹ (u-ma-she-Lo) “dominion; ruling power”
אַפְסֵי (af-sei) “end; extreme limit”
9:11 אַתְּ (at) “you”
שִׁלַּחְתִּי (shil-Lach-ti) root: שׁלח (shaw-lakh) Piel: “to set free” In the Qal it means “to send forth”
אֲסִירַיִךְ (a-si-Ra-yich) “prisoner” (see also verse 12)
מִבּוֹר (mib-Bor) from: בּוֹר (bore) “cistern; pit; dungeon” With the preposition, this usually references a waterless storage pit, not a spring-fed well. It is also used in Genesis 39-41 as the word for prison. Joseph was cast into such a pit as was Daniel and Jeremiah.
9:12 שׁוּבוּ (shu-vu) root: שׁוב (shoob) Qal imperative: “to return” אָשִׁיב (a-Shiv) “I will return/restore” (at the end of the verse)
לְבִצָּרוֹן (le-vitz-tza-Ron) “stronghold; fortress; fortified place; castle”
הַתִּקְוָה (hat-tik-Vah) “hope”
מִשְׁנֶה (mish-Neh) “two-fold; a double portion” Note the command to return with the promise of a double “returning/restoring” to those who return.
Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Zechariah 9:9-12.
Text Week-Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Zechariah 9:9-12.