John 12.12-15 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
And what a road it’s been
The road that began approximately 3 years before seems to be coming to an end. Here we are, back in Jerusalem again. Jesus was here just eight days after his birth to fulfill the regulations of the law, and he came back many times after. Each time was met with different receptions, some good but most of them troublesome. Yet Jesus kept coming back again and again, but this time is different. There are so many interesting facts that we could be talking about, so many “coincidences” that are happening at this very moment as Jesus rides into Jerusalem, but they might take away from what is happening.
This moment, we pause, we pause and reflect on the truth that Jesus is dutifully riding into Jerusalem as was written of him in the Old Testament. Jesus is riding on a street surrounded by faces, some probably familiar to him, but all shouting praises normally reserved for royalty. Jesus might be looking into the eyes of those waving palm branches at him. He might see the hope and fervor in their eyes, but he knows that it is misplaced. The people, so oppressed by Rome, and whose backs were broken by continual occupation, were hoping that Jesus was the answer. Jesus knows that they want a hero, a conqueror, someone who will lead the nation of Israel back to its former glory. Jesus knows that they are going to get just that, but not in the way they are thinking. Jesus knows that the people are too short cited, that they are hoping for their current situation to improve and their short-term pain to be healed, but Jesus is riding in to conquer a much larger enemy. Jesus has come to do battle with sin, death, and hell, and he means to win.
I can’t imagine Jesus smiling that much on that donkey, listening to the cheers of the people, because for him, he is just stepping into the arena, and the greatest battle of all history is about to begin. Unlike other royalty that seeks glory from the people but allows the people to fight for them to earn that glory, Jesus is going to do battle on his own. This fight is for the people, all people, even those of us reading today. The hope of all eternity is riding into Jerusalem, for the last time, on a donkey and we get to walk with him and watch.
On the road today: There are several perspectives at this point on the road. Some of us reading here have been walking with Jesus a very long time, we have seen the miracles, heard the love, witnessed the forgiving, glimpsed the Father at work. It is now time for us to ponder the mystery of God’s son, riding on a donkey, to set us free. Some are reading this standing by waving a palm in hopes that this Jesus will do one more miracle, fix the desperate problem we have created for ourselves, but Jesus is not interested in solving a short-term problem, Jesus has his sights set on true freedom for us. Ponder the truth that hope, and salvation are riding on a donkey, but catch his eye as he goes by and see the truth. He is riding in for us. Don’t miss it.