Prisoners of Hope

The Old Testament lesson from Zechariah 9:9-12, there is a puzzling characterization of rescued prisoners.  “Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope.”  How can hope be a prison?

The hope holding Jerusalem’s inhabitants’ captive is the expectation of a king who would mount a war against their enemies, a king like David.  However, the king which Zechariah announces comes riding humbly on a donkey.  In fact, he will cut off the chariot of war and the battle bow.  He will speak peace to the nations not saber rattling.  Still he shall establish God’s kingdom from sea to sea…to the end of the earth.  Zechariah is pointing ahead to the coming of the Messiah, the Son of David.

The Messiah is none other than Jesus, Son of David, who will come riding on a donkey into Jerusalem.  He will establish God’s world – wide rule through the Word of his death and resurrection.  Thus, Christ makes us once more prisoners of hope.  Our hope is not rooted in false expectations that we are able to save ourselves.  Paul puts the kibosh on that in the epistle lesson noting, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want to do.”

Our hope is rooted in our trust in God to whom Paul declares, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We live out our resurrection faith by placing our hope in what God has done in Christ.

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