Thursday, May 2 nd , 2024
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The Triumphant and Unexpected Entry

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.” Matthew 21:1-7 ESV

There are so many accounts in Scripture where I wish I could have been standing there as an observer, and in this moment, I can easily imagine the disciples giving each other questioning looks behind Jesus’s back during this whole interaction. Their beloved Teacher, who refers to God as “My Father” and preaches with such authority, entering Jerusalem… on a donkey?

From our modern viewpoint, the donkey detail seems odd, and we can easily overlook the significance.

That one detail is rich with meaning. The people living in the first century world would have understood that entering a city on horseback represented entering as a conquering king and a warrior; a leader with an army prepared to commit acts of violence in order to usurp the current ruler. Riding in on a donkey was still declaring kingship, however, it sent the message of king entering in peace, with peaceful intentions.

All of Israel’s expectations at the time were set on the idea of a warrior king who would overpower and overthrow anyone that stood in the way of God’s promised people and fulfill their version of what they thought it meant to be the Lion of Judah, the prophesied Messiah, and a descendant from the line of the greatest King that Israel had ever seen.

Then I go back to my mental picture of the disciples’ curious and confused expressions as the symbolism of the moment sinks in for them. I can only imagine what was running through their minds. Were the disciples thinking that Jesus was coming in peace to finally convince the religious leaders of His power once and for all? Was He planning to negotiate with the Roman oppressors as all of the Hebrew sects consolidated under His divine authority to restore the former glory Israel experienced under King David? Was there a sentiment among the disciples of ‘settling’ for this entrance into Jerusalem, that despite this unexpected move on Jesus’s part, their expectations of the Messiah overthrowing Roman occupation could still be fulfilled?

Their complete despair upon Jesus’s death a week later shows that they hadn’t truly surrendered their expectations and fully placed their faith and trust in His plan.

Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace who would soon become the sacrificial Lamb of God. We are ambassadors of this Prince of Peace, whose willingness to come with humility and gentleness demonstrated His love and might. In His goodness, He knew what Israel, and the world, needed, even more than another war for earthly power, was a Savior and Redeemer who would build a Kingdom that can never be torn down or overthrown.

How many times do I see God moving, and say to Him in prayer, “Lord, I see You doing this, and I don’t love the direction, but that’s okay, there is still time for You to do something to still achieve my desired outcome.” That is a lack of faith on my part and an attempt to exert control where I have none – a sin I must repent of regularly.

The Lord doing something unexpected is a time for me to quiet my heart and seek Him in faith, submitting myself to His authority and trusting His goodness and His plan.

Will you pray with me?

Lord, You are the Prince of Peace, King of Kings, and the Savior and Redeemer of my soul. Help me to worship You for who You are, and not who I think You should be or what You should do for me. Your Will and Ways are higher and better than my own, and I submit myself and my expectations to You, fully trusting Your plans to be full of Your glory and goodness. Thank You for willingly lowering Yourself to so clearly demonstrate the peace and humility that You call me to walk in as Your servant. In Jesus name, Amen.

Peace and blessings,
Amy Parks
Communications Coordinator