It’s frustrating when people don’t believe you. The more serious the things we have to say, the more our frustration is ramped up when people refuse to accept what we say. How can we convince people of our honesty? We have to say something that they will take seriously. “May I live a thousand years and never hunt again” doesn’t quite do it. I must swear on something more dear to me, more serious in the eyes of my audience. “I swear on my mother’s grave… I swear on the lives of my children.”
We also know how foolish an oath can be. We remember the foolishness of Jephthah (Judges 11) and Saul (1 Samuel 14) and how their vows brought pain and trouble. Our Lord wants our “yes” to be “yes” and our “no” to be “no.” But there are times when an oath is appropriate, even necessary, such as in a court of law or in a serious situation when testimony must have some attestation.
Our Lord has sworn by HIMSELF (Isaiah 45:23). Surely his word is good and true at all times. His “yes” and “no” are far more certain than ours. Yet in mercy he swears that his promise, which is always true, will most certainly remain true. He swears by the only certain and unchangeable thing that exists: himself. He does this because he wants to wipe every doubt from our hearts and minds concerning our salvation.
We see evidence of the fulfillment of this oath at many times in Scripture, but on Palm Sunday we are near the apex. Knees bow to Jesus in praise as he triumphantly enters Jerusalem, and he brings his righteousness to bear by the end of the week as the perfect Lamb of sacrifice.