by Julia Charleston
“Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble,
riding on a donkey-riding on a donkey’s colt.” Zechariah 9:9 [NLT]
There are many contrasting elements to Jesus’ triumphant entry. He was a king who came as a lowly servant on the back of a donkey rather than a noble steed. He came dressed in clothes of the poor and humble rather than royal robes. He came not to conquer by force as earthly kings but by love, grace, mercy, and self-sacrifice. His kingdom was one of meekness and servant hood, not one of armies and splendor. He conquers hearts and minds, not nations. His message is of peace with God rather than worldly contentment.
Jesus was on his way to the temple to offer his Passover sacrifice. The time had also come for Him to make public His claim to be the Messiah. Prior to this day, He encouraged everyone to keep quiet about His work. He sent two disciples to find a donkey and her colt. The disciples brought the animals to Jesus, and paid homage to their king by spreading their cloaks on the colt’s back and over the ground. Jesus climbed upon the donkey and rode into town, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah.
Some had no clue who Jesus actually was. Was He a king? A prophet? Was He the One who would come to save them from their oppressors? Here at The Foundry, we believe Jesus to be all three. He absolutely is the person to free us from our oppression (whoever or whatever our oppressors may be) and that alone gives us reason to celebrate!
Passover celebration included pulling branches from magnificent palm trees, rejoicing in remembrance of God’s miraculous rescue from slavery in Egypt. The party began as Jesus entered town with many praises being shouted by the people who welcomed their deliverer:
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the King of Israel.” John 12:13 [NIV]
The skeptics were not thinking in terms of heavenly deliverance, but of military liberation. They shouted their many praises “Hosanna!” because they thought Jesus would lead them in a revolt against Roman tyranny. When Jesus failed their expectations-that is, when He refused to lead them in a revolution, their Hosannas quickly turned into shouts of anger “Crucify Him!”
People of the day were looking for a way to survive. The problem was not that they were looking for a way out of bondage…their fatal flaw was that they crucified Jesus when they didn’t get their expectations met. The thing some wanted most was insignificant compared to the thing Jesus wanted to give them. The ones who believed in prophecy understood what Jesus was offering. The ones who didn’t believe, crucified Him.
We are still looking for freedom today. The difference between then and now is, thanks to scripture and the Holy Spirit we know Jesus is offering eternal life. We also know we cannot be used if we’re stuck in bondage. I know at times when things don’t go my way, my hopes are dashed, disappointment settles in and bitterness takes root. If I am honest, rather than shouting my praises “Hosanna!” I lament my anger “Crucify Him!” What happens when your expectations don’t get met by Jesus? Do you sing His praises? Or do you ignore Him?
There is nothing wrong with being upset when things don’t go our way, and there’s nothing wrong with expressing our anger to God. He can handle it. We should practice singing His praises in spite of disappointments. As Christians, we must try to set the example for the entire world to see. Jesus wants to make a triumphant entry into our hearts, reining there in peace and in love. When we exhibit those qualities, the world sees a true king living and reining in triumphant VICTORY in us.
May we always remember the least of Jesus is worthy of the best of us.