On today, one week before Jesus would be resurrected after His crucifixion, Matthew 21:1-11shares that Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem and was celebrated as a conquering king. Notwithstanding, many in the crowd on that day that celebrated Jesus was also in the crowd the following Friday yelling, “Crucify Him!” There are several similar inconsistencies in this passage that I wish to highlight and clarify on today.
First, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey that He does not own. What kind of king does not own his own donkey? How can a king be a conquering king when he does not own his own donkey? It is true that on this day Jesus did not have His own donkey, however, in Colossians 1:16 Paul writes, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” Jesus created and owned everything – even that donkey.
Second, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. What kind of conquering king rides in on a donkey? Kings rode on the finest, and most majestic stallions in the kingdom. It was the common people who rode on donkeys. It is true that on this day Jesus rode on a common donkey, however, Jesus said in John 13:13, 14, “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Jesus, as King, lived a humble life of service as an example for us to lay down our titles and positions to fulfill our call to serve others.
Third, the disciples took off their clothes and spread them over the donkey for Jesus to sit on, and the crowd took off their clothes and spread them on the ground for Jesus to ride on. It is true that on this day they took off their clothes for the benefit of Jesus, however, John writes in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus put on the clothes of humanity for the benefit of humanity. Jesus put on the clothes of humanity to provide salvation for humanity.
Fourth, as Jesus came into Jerusalem, many asked, “Who is this?” The crowd responded, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” What kind of conquering king would be unknown to those who are his subjects? A conquering king would be well know and highly recognized by everyone. It is true that on this day many did not know who Jesus was, however, Paul shares in Philippians 2:10, 11, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” One day, everyone will not only know who Jesus is, they will also bow down before Him as King and Lord.
Therefore, on this day, we pause to reflect upon who Jesus is; what Jesus has done for us; and how our lives are different because of what He has done for us. We also pause to acknowledge Him as our conquering King. Consider all of the battles that He has fought and won for you. It may appear at times that He is not a conquering king, and others may suggest that He is not a conquering king, however, on today, Palm Sunday, I proclaim that He is my King of kings and Lord of lords – to God be the glory