Eurasia Blog Wednesday Devotion: King of Glory

–By Elizabeth Ahlman

St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle, Prague. Photo by Elizabeth Ahlman

St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle, Prague. Photo by Elizabeth Ahlman

[9] Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 ESV).

[7] Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. [8] Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! [9] Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. [10] Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory (Psalm 24:7-10 ESV)!

These verses from Zechariah and Psalm 24 form the Introit of the day in the German hymnal of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) partner church body in Germany, The Selbständige Evangelische–Lutherische Kirche (SELK) for the first Sunday in Advent.  What a contrast they make. In Zechariah, there is rejoicing because the humble king comes to the Daughter of Zion riding on a colt, a humble beast of burden. In Psalm 24, the gates of the city are told to “lift up their heads” and fling wide their doors so that the King of Glory may pass in. This King of glory is strong and mighty. He is Yahweh of Hosts, the One Who commands all the armies of angels (Psalm 91:11), Who makes the wind and the sea obey Him (Matthew 8:23-27), Who brings rain on the earth to water the crops (i.e. Psalm 147:8), Who brings calamity (Isaiah 45:7), Who shows His might before the nations (Isaiah 60:6).

So which is it? Are we to rejoice and shout aloud because our King is coming humbly and riding on a donkey? Or are we to rejoice during this Advent season because our King of Glory is coming in, strong and mighty, mighty in battle, ready to rid us of our adversaries? Yes and yes.

For in Christ Jesus humility is strength. Weakness is might. Lowliness is a weapon which wins battles. Death is victory. A cross is glory. As the Church, the Daughter of Zion, we lift up our heads during this time of waiting and watch for the humble child born to Mary and Joseph Who is the Son of God. The Church opens wide her ancient doors as the King of Glory passes in — the King who is a babe in a manger and a crucified Lord. We watch for the long-awaited One Who does battle with our sin, death and the devil by laying down His own life upon the cross for the sake of the whole world. He Who “lays His glory by” as the Babe of Bethlehem takes it up again in the very thing that looks like defeat: death itself. As our resurrected Lord, He comes again and again in lowly, humble ways to reveal His glory and deliver His victory to us: Word and water, bread and wine. During this season of Advent, we give thanks and praise for our humble, glorious King Who has come and delivered us from all our adversaries, Who comes to us now and Who is to come again.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus Christ, You are the King and Savior of all; we give thanks to You for Your glorious death and resurrection, and for all of the ways You come to us in humility and in glory; continue to strengthen us through Your Word, our Baptisms, and Your Holy Supper so that we may await Your coming without growing weary and finally be gathered to Your side; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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