Photo by Alvimann on Morgue File.
Palm Sunday: (Mt. 21.1-11; Mk. 11.1-10; Lk. 19.28-44; Jn. 12.12-15—Jesus sends two disciples to secure a donkey, as he and the others wait on the Mt. of Olives, Christ makes his Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem: Jn. 12.20-36—Jesus is sought after by some Greeks: Mt. 21.17; Mk. 11.11—Jesus enters the temple and later returns to Bethany.) (*All Scripture and daily events complied with help from ESV’s: “A Harmony of the Events of Holy Week).
It had to be quite a scene to witness that Sunday. It should not surprise us that Jesus chose a lowly donkey instead of a great steed or war-horse to be his vehicle for entering the city of David. This was very much in keeping with his entire life. From his very conception, Jesus had shown himself as a minister to those in need; a servant to show people the way of the kingdom of God.
He was born of a young virgin maiden, hardly the vessel expected to give birth to the King of kings and Lord of lords. He lived a humble life, having no place to lay his head, wearing a simple garment and traveling with a rag-tag motley crew of men as his disciples.
Christ shows his humility and meekness, by entering Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Of course, he also fulfilled prophecy: Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden (Mt. 21.5; cf. Zech. 9.9). Such an animal seems hardly worthy as the seat of royalty. Can you picture the likes of Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Caesar or Napoleon marching in on a beast of burden? Hardly. Yet, here is the king of glory, sitting humbly atop a donkey, entering triumphantly into the city.
It does seem appropriate. It sounds just like Jesus, doesn’t it? After all, the main attraction was not the animal. The whole scene was not about what Jesus rode; but rather, about the One who rode into the city. The overtures to the claim of Christ as Messiah were hardly missed by the crowd that day. They cry out, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! (Mt. 21.9).
Yet, not all that day acknowledged him as the promised Messiah. There were those in the crowd who asked, Who is this? (Mt. 21.10). The response was that Jesus was a prophet who hailed from Nazareth.
How do you approach this One, who is riding on a donkey? What do you see in him? Do you view him by his garments or by the mode of transportation he employs? Or, do you see something more? Do you, as the wise men at his birth, who saw something more than merely a peasant child lying in a feed trough before them, see him for who he truly is?
This is the part of faith. It is faith that looks at Jesus, riding on a lowly donkey, and professes him king and lord. The crowd had it right that day. He was the Son of David, a Messianic title. But, they also had it wrong. They were expecting Jesus to enter Jerusalem and collide with the Romans and set Israel free politically. Jesus met the former expectation, but not the latter.
There is an important lesson here for us: Jesus does not always meet our expectations. Jesus often times does the opposite of what we expect him to do. Again, faith is needed in following Christ. We must submit our preconceived notions to his truth. We must submit our desires to his revelation. In short, we must submit ourselves, our lives to his Lordship.
Today, as you meditate on his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, does your heart cry out, Hosanna to the Son of David! Or, do you mingle in with the ignorant crowd and benignly ask, Who is this?
Remember, Jesus is depicted riding an animal again at his second coming. In the apocalyptic scene, he is shown to ride a white stallion, coming in the clouds. This is theophanic imagery—showing forth that he is God and King.
Jesus, my Lord and my God, I praise you and acknowledge you as King of kings and Lord of Lords. Even more, I confess that you are my King and my Lord. I thank you for your humility, displaying your love and grace. I thank you for your majesty and sovereignty, as it reassures me in this world where things are so much bigger than me. Lord, help me this day, as I celebrate Palm Sunday, as I remember your triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to give you full control over every part of my mind, heart and life. Lord, help me to live under your kingship, as your servant, trusting in your power, love and will. I pray this in the matchless name of the One who is Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, Amen