The stage is set. The curtain rises. The last act of the drama begins. Here comes Jesus into the city of Jerusalem.
Perhaps 2.5 million people crowded the narrow streets converging on this holy city at Passover time. Garments were spread on the road. Branches torn from trees fanned the same air which carried shouts of "Hosanna."
All this was no accident; Jesus knew what He was doing. In advance, He had arranged for a donkey; two disciples brought it to Him. It was no accident that marked His mode of transportation. Matthew reveals that Jesus set the stage for what we now call Holy Week so as to fulfill the prophecy spoken centuries before in Zechariah 9:9
and Isaiah 62:11
. "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See your king comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey"' (Matthew 21:5
Call it the first century or the 21st century, the picture remains: Your King is coming. Let's take a look at this King.I. Your King is a different kind of king.
We Americans aren't too familiar with monarchy. We will watch a coronation. We are fascinated by the pageantry surrounding a royal wedding. We will even occasionally follow at a distance the royal gossip surrounding Prince Charles and Camilla, and read an article about the dating status of Princes William and Harry.
Although we are sort of numb when it comes to all kinds of leadership -- seeing the weaknesses of kings, prime ministers, and presidents -- yet who among us is not stirred to rapid pulsation by the majestic strains of "Pomp and Circumstance"?
It is overwhelming to sense the power, the armament, the majestic aura, that surrounds the presence of a man called a king. There is something awe-inspiring about royal power. We could add that there is something awesome about all political and military power which marks the trains of kings, prime ministers, and presidents.
There is one exception -- that being an encounter with King Jesus. Jesus is a different kind of king. Whereas most royalty comes determined to rule, He comes determined to serve. Whereas most monarchs spend time building their egos with the perquisites of office, He comes with a totally disarming humility. Whereas most kings ride white stallions or majestic Boeing 747s, King Jesus rides a donkey. He knew what He was doing.
The King chose His vehicle of transportation. The horse stands for war; that's what the people wanted. They yearned for a leader who would set them free from the yoke of Rome. Jesus rode a donkey, a symbol of meekness, of peace. How different are the swishing of palm branches from the click of crossed swords or the deafening blast of a twenty-one gun salute.