Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Zechariah 9:12 makes a very interesting statement. "Return to your stronghold, O prismoners of hope; / today I declare that I will restore to you double" (ESV). What is a prisoner of hope?
When we hope for something, by definition, it is something we don't yet have. It may be a very certain thing, but once we have it, we don't hope any more. There's no need to hope, because we have it. Zechariah calls those who are waiting on the Lord prisoners of hope.
Though God's coming is certain, in a sense, it remains something to be hoped for. In the time of Zechariah, the people were waiting for a Messiah. He had not yet come. He was promised only. There was a promise and a hope, but the rescue from sin was not complete.
The Gospel reading normally used for a Palm Sunday procession quote part of this passage from Zechariah. Jesus entered into Jerusalem as he did to draw attention to the realization of Israel's hope. Those who were held prisoner, dealing with hope of release, would see their release coming to them. He would be mounted on a donkey, coming in peace. The prisoners of hope would know their hope was coming to an end, to be fulfilled, not disappointed.
We who await the coming of Christ in glory are also prisoners of hope. Jesus has accomplished salvation from sin. He has prepared eternal life. He has arranged for us to be raised from the dead just as he was. Yet it is still hope. We still wait for his coming.
Jesus, who always keeps his word, is the one who will come in the last day. He will rescue all who are waiting for him. Our hope will be fulfilled. On that day, we will no longer be imprisoned. We will have the freedom of eternal life, right then. Hope will pass away to be replaced by reality.
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