Wednesday, March 31, 2010

He Comes in Triumph

Today, I knew that God wanted me to write about Holy Week. He had something to say, so in prayer He directed me to John 12.

John 12: 13-18
13.[The crowd] took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and [began] to cry out, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel."
14. And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written,
15. "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey's colt."
16. These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.
 17. And so the multitude who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, were bearing Him witness.
18. For this cause also the multitude went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.
Palm Sunday is also called the "Triumphal Entry". Jesus came to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. This was the week before His arrest and crucifixion, on Good Friday, and His resurrection on Easter, or Resurrection Sunday.

The crowd that had been at the house of Lazarus and saw him raised from the dead were all there, to greet Jesus and wave the palm branches which was ritually for triumphant leaders coming home from war.
Let's look at the prophetic scripture from Zechariah that predicts this day in Jesus life.

Zechariah 9: 9-10
9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout [in triumph], O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.

I have heard that there are over 400 prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Jesus' life and death. The previous verses from Zechariah 9 are just one of them. Let's look at them with the emphasis on Jesus riding the young donkey.

In Biblical times war was almost everpresent. Chariots and horses, bows and arrows were the weapons that were used.  Throughout Jewish history the people were looking for their "King". A Messiah that would come and set up an earthly kingdom, as did King David. Most of the inhabitants of Israel were waiting for the Messiah that would come to liberate them from oppressive rule of their enemies and then, in Jesus' day, from the harsh hand of Rome.
Many of the followers of Jesus and even His disciples were thinking along those lines. Having seen the miracle He performed with the resurrection of Lazarus, they were hoping Jesus would "miraculously" take over the government and give it to the Jewish people. On Palm Sunday, that was what the crowd was thinking. They were worshipping Him as God's Son, but also hoping that the time was near for Him to be "crowned" as King here in an earthly kingdom.

But instead of a powerful steed to signify the strength of an earthly takeover, Jesus was destined to ride into Jerusalem on a lowly donkey. Just as a pregnant Mary had done all those years before, He now rode on the back of a donkey once more.

Jesus does triumph. His death on a cross almost 2000 years ago cannot be looked at as a loss, nor a failure. That is what the world does not truly understand. God's son came as a man, Jesus, to provide a way for salvation and eternal life for us. He paid the price on the cross for our sin. He was predestined to do that. The Jews did not kill him, nor the Romans. The devil did not win. Jesus won. We won. He triumphantly led the way on a young donkey. He came in peace, on a humble mount, the lowly way to arrive in Bethlehem and then in Jerusalem. He voluntarily laid down His life for us. Thank you, Jesus, for your great love for us.

If you have not received Jesus as your Savior, it's easy to do so right now. Just ask Him to come into your heart and change you. He will do it. Salvation is easy. It is not hard. All it takes is one step in His direction. He will meet you and you will begin a new life. You will win, too.

Thank you Father God, that your Son who came humbly and in humility, to bring us peace, is truly the King of Kings. 

Love, in Jesus,

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