The Good News - Home
Blessed is He Who Comes
by David A. DePra
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zech. 9:9)
And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. (Matt. 21:9)
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, You shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matt. 23:38-39)
The verse from Matthew 21 above is from the account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on the day we call Palm Sunday. The crowds greeted Him with great fanfare, proclaiming and embracing Him as their Messiah. Mark’s account adds this an additional cry of the people, "Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. "(Mark 11:10) So there is no question that many of these people were greeting Jesus because they believed Him to be the Messiah of Israel. At least they believed that within their limited understanding. They believed He was coming to establish the kingdom of God in Israel RIGHT THEN. To them, this meant freedom from the Romans, and a return to Israel’s former glory.
You have to realize that at this point in time, there was NO expectation or concept of a Savior who would die for the sin of the world. To the Jews, the Messiah was a Jewish Messiah. He would set up God’s kingdom in the temple, and from there restore Israel to the glory of days past. THAT was it. Few of these people had a frame of reference for anything more.
Even the disciples of Christ were under the impression that the kingdom preached by Jesus was to be a physical one. They expected Jesus to enter the temple in Jerusalem and proclaim Himself Messiah. Again, they had no frame of reference for a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of men FIRST – nor for the death and resurrection that was necessary to make this possible. So the crowds celebrated, based on their mistaken notion of God’s purpose. And so did the disciples.
This was not necessarily a bad thing – as far as it went. Jesus Himself, in John 12:14-15, said that this greeting by the people fulfilled the prophecy, quoted above, from Zechariah. Thus, despite the misunderstanding of the nature of the kingdom, and the time which it would be established, as well as the MEANS necessary for it to come to pass – despite all of that -- what the crowds exclaimed that day was absolutely true: Jesus WAS bringing the kingdom of God. He was the Messiah. And He had indeed come to His own people. The fact that they did not understand the meaning and the time of these things did not negate what value was in this event.
But now we must turn to Matthew 23, quoted above. Notice that just a short time later, after He entered into Jerusalem, that Jesus pronounced judgment upon Jerusalem, indeed, upon all of Israel. In fact, when He entered the temple, He overturned their tables – a significant and highly symbolic acts. He says that their house is left to them desolate. In other words, there was NOTHING left for God to salvage or work with. They had drifted that far away, in their hearts, from God. And then He makes this statement: "You shall not see Me henceforth until you shall say, ‘Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord."
Isn’t that interesting? Had not the people just SAID that very thing? Yep. The celebration of His entry into Jerusalem had barely died out, and the echoes of those very words were still in the air. But Jesus acts as if none of it had happened. He acts as if those people had not said, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." Instead, He pronounces judgment. And He says they will not see Him again UNTIL they utter those very words – words that they had just proclaimed with great celebration. What is going on here?
Israel’s Rejection of Christ
As noted, Jesus pronounced a terrible judgment upon Israel. We can be sure that this was NOT a mistake. It was perfectly just and absolutely necessary. We can be sure that when He said, "Your house is desolate," that this was the Truth. But once we realize that this WAS the Truth, it kind of makes all the celebration of His entry into Jerusalem ring a bit hollow, doesn’t it? Indeed, the fact that Jesus pronounced such a judgment upon Israel has to mean, that despite the words, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" – that despite those words – that Israel in general didn’t really mean them. For if they HAD meant those words, there would have been no need for a pronouncement of judgment. Their house would NOT have been desolate. It would have been filled with the presence of God.
The fact is, most of those people said those words because they thought that Jesus was going to do things for them as King. This was a Jesus they could easily embrace. But in truth, Jesus came to die as our Passover Lamb. That was different. And it was a Christ that they would later reject fully.
Let’s ask: What do those words, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," REALLY mean? Well, if I say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," I am voluntarily, and fully, embracing the coming of, and the presence of, Jesus Christ in my life. I am proclaiming Him LORD OF ME. I am saying, "Come, Lord Jesus, and bring to pass YOUR will, and YOUR kingdom, to the complete disregard of ME. Do it YOUR way." I am telling Jesus I no longer want a say-so. Rather, I just want HIM.
The vital thing to see here is that for these words to be real, they must be a voluntary expression of my heart’s desire for God to come and do His will to His glory. This isn’t a religious exercise. It isn’t me saying what I think God wants to hear. It isn’t obedience under threat of punishment. Rather, it is actually me ASKING God to come – REALLY asking Him because I truly WANT Him. It is me praising the fact that He will. To say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," means that I am celebrating and rejoicing in the fact that Jesus will come into my life on a new level, and bring everything about me into conformity with His will.
On the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem, those people seemed to embrace Christ as King – with open arms and rejoicing. They were sincere. They were acting in accordance with the knowledge they had. But that knowledge was in error. For Jesus was not coming to be their reigning King in the temple at that time. Rather, He was coming to DIE. Instead of a King, He was going to be the Lamb of God.
In reality, if the people who celebrated that day had truly MEANT their words, then when Jesus was on trial, and when He was crucified, they would have protested and continued to embrace Him. But they did NOT. One wonders how many who welcomed Him that day were also in the mob who demanded His death – because they realized He was not going to do what they expected. We don’t know. But we DO know that His own disciples, while they did not directly betray Him as did Judas, did desert Him. And Peter denied Him.
In this we see how God tests our faith and our commitment to Christ. It is easy to say we embrace Christ when we don’t see any downside to our plans in doing so. It is easy to say such words when we think if Jesus comes it will better us in some way. We do this all the time in ignorance. Most of us don’t plot against God. But how much more does God need to reveal to us from His Word about these matters before we will believe Him? Jesus said,
From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Matt. 16:21-26)
If we really mean it when we celebrate the coming of Jesus in our personal lives, then when things do NOT turn out as we expect, we will face that fact, and STILL embrace Him. But if our hopes and commitment are not really upon Christ, but upon something we expect from Him, then when things take a different course, we will take a different course. Jesus stated over and over that to follow Him means we must face what the disciples faced – the Cross. The will of God must always go through the Cross, and to us losing our lives in order to find His.
A Lesson For Us
Sometimes when Christian people proclaim, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," – or whatever we say in our hearts that equals that – we don’t actually realize what we are asking. Are we prepared for TRUTH? For the will of God? No matter what? No matter the cost? What if we invite Christ to come into our lives in that way and He must turn over all of our tables? Often that is the case. Perhaps we have been buying and selling with God – making deals with Him. Indeed, maybe our invitation to Him to come is just another selling point. Then what? Are we prepared for Christ to turn over all the tables in our temple and to cast out the money changers?
I don’t think the most Christian people are prepared for Truth. I sometimes wonder how many really want it at all. I’m not here so much talking about doctrinal Truth. Anyone can agree to doctrinal Truth. But I’m talking about us experiencing what those doctrines tell us – I’m talking about us standing before God in total LIGHT, open and exposed, and fully willing for God to have His way and His will with us – no matter what that might mean to our desire to own ourselves.
Of course, this sounds scary. But it is actually the only way to freedom. We cannot go wrong coming to know and experience the Truth. For every possible LOSS we might experience by losing our lives, there will be an eternal gain. Indeed, God even promises that He will add to us all the temporal necessities for this life as it suits His will.
But you see, ALL OF THAT is something that hinges on whether we will lose ourselves into His hands. If we won’t, we will NOT experience Him in that way, indeed, we won’t even KNOW or have a frame of reference for what we are missing. You can do little more than merely TALK about resurrection if you haven’t actually died. You can memorize the above verse about needed to lose your life all you want. But the question is, when God brings the opportunity, will we lose it? We cannot FIND the Truth, and His LIFE, any other way.
The Real Gospel
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem that day, those people thought He was coming to give them what they wanted – yes, God’s kingdom – but THEIR way, according to THEIR understanding. Thus, when Jesus died in order to bring God’s kingdom GOD’S way, most of them would not accept it. They were not willing to LOSE themselves to God.
Today Christians are being taught to welcome Jesus into their lives as Lord – but on THEIR TERMS, and not according to the Truth. Of course, they are taught that to do so IS the Truth, and that it IS what God wants you to do. Sure. If you don’t think that his is what many Christians consider to be the goal of the Christian life – that God wants to help us save our lives for ourselves – just listen to Christian teaching today. A couple of years ago, Joel Osteen wrote a book entitled, "Your Best Life Now." It was a best seller. The title says it all. It is a perfect example of heresy today, and of the false gospel.
Go back to the scripture quoted above from Matthew 16. Read the whole thing again. You will find in it a profound contrast between the gospel of SATAN – yes, of SATAN – and the Truth of God in Jesus Christ. When Jesus told the disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and be crucified, Peter protested. This was NOT in the disciples plans for a Messiah. And how did Jesus respond to his protest? He said, "Get behind Me, Satan!"
But where was Satan? Peter had protested the need for Jesus to go to the Cross. Not Satan. Well, I don’t think Jesus was in error when He said, "Get behind Me, Satan!" He was always right on target. Thus, Peter, when we was trying to get Jesus to avoid the Cross, and bring in the kingdom ANOTHER way, was actually being used of Satan at that point to try to tempt Jesus. Peter, in his ignorance of the Truth, was being a mouthpiece for another gospel – that of Satan himself.
We do not need to guess as to the real nature of this gospel of Satan. Jesus exposes it completely, and also states the TRUTH. After rebuking Peter by saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for you savor not the things that be of God, but those that be of men," which partly defines the gospel of Satan – it savors the things of man, rather than of God – Jesus cuts right to the point. He says, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
Here was have the TWO gospels. The gospel of Satan states that we should possess our lives for ourselves. Not necessarily in a sinful, rebellious, or immoral way. But maybe even in a GOOD and religious way. That is certainly how Peter wanted things to work. Peter was not promoting sin. He was simply stating a gospel that would be good and religious, equipped with a Messiah – but one that would skip all need for the Cross. This is the gospel of Satan – that you can seek to save your life for yourself, and that God Himself will help you do it. You can indeed, have, "Your Best Life Now." "Far be it from you, O Christian, to think that God would actually want you to die to all that you are."
Many today do think that Jesus has come to help us possess our lives for ourselves. We think the Christian life is a matter of us having our lives for ourselves, and that Jesus has promised to help us do this – maybe even gave us power to possess them. Therefore, we easily proclaim, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," because we expect a Lord who will give us what we want. Indeed, our entire walk can focus on this. But it is utterly contrary to the purposes of God. God has never promised to give us our lives. He says, "You must lose your lives. Only then can you find life in Christ."
The true gospel of Jesus Christ, which Jesus stated to Peter that day was that we must LOSE our lives in order to FIND HIS. The gospel of Satan suggests that we must save our lives in order to FIND HIS – and that it is the will of God to help us do so. Of course, the reason why people fall for this deception is that it seems frightening to lose your life. But if we only realized it, what we are losing is worthless. What we will find is priceless. But we will never see this unless we believe it.
When will we get it through our heads that the Cross of Jesus Christ brought to al complete end the old creation? That all that I am in Adam was crucified in Christ. But don’t think of what died in Christ as only sin – in the obvious sense. THE SIN – which is self-ownership and my possession of my self – is what died in Christ. Thus, this issue is settled. It is not up for debate. If you want to find true life and Truth in Jesus Christ, you have to lose everything about yourself at the Cross. And the promise is that you will find all that is in Jesus Christ.
Any other gospel is the gospel of Satan. Not maybe. It is – Jesus stated this clearly and bluntly to Peter, and to us. Consequently, we are accountable. Those who teach otherwise are accountable, as are those who support them.
The Passover Lamb
It cannot be without significance that at the very moment of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the high priest was selecting – in obedience to the OT – the Passover Lamb. God had commanded that on the tenth day of the first month that this Lamb be selected, and this was the very day upon which Jesus entered into Jerusalem.
The OT Passover Lamb was to be selected on the tenth day, and slain at sunset on the fourteenth day, which was about three and one-half days later. Why the wait? The reason for the wait was that the lamb selected had to be observed to verify that it was without spot or blemish. Yet even here we see a wonderful parallel. Jesus was our Passover Lamb. His public ministry – the time that Israel had to observe Him to be without spot or blemish – was three and one-half years. And then, incredibly, just as the OT Passover Lamb was being selected by the high priest, the REAL Passover Lamb was riding into Jerusalem to figuratively present Himself to Israel.
Jesus did not come to be a KING – then. He came to DIE as the Passover Lamb. Today, He DOES rule as KING in those who would accept Him as such. But we can only accept Him as King over us personally, if we first lose over lives to Him. So we find that in each life today this entire scene and principle is being worked out.
God wants us to proclaim, "Blessed is He who come in the name of the Lord!" But He wants to bring us to the place where we REALLY mean it. We will only really mean it if wrapped up in that celebration is the voluntary losing of our lives in order to find His. And guess what? If we do mean it, God really means it. Jesus will come as Lord into our lives in new and greater ways. And along with Him, we will be BLESSED.
The Good News - Home