This is the week we celebrate all the events leading up to Easter Sunday. It involves what is known as the “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem with Palm Sunday last weekend. Then we have Good Friday in a couple of days followed by Easter Sunday.
Let’s start with the events we celebrate last weekend. Here’s the reaction Jesus got coming into Jerusalem (take note that He was riding a donkey).
Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!” (Mark 11:9-10)
Yet if you know the story, it won’t be long until this same crowd is chanting “crucify him!” (Mark 15:9-15). Which is confusing. How do we get such a swing in response in a matter of days?
The short answer is that Jesus didn’t do what they wanted Him to do. They were ready to overthrow Rome and take back control of their lives. And they thought Jesus was their guy.
Obviously, they misread Him. I feel like the donkey should have tipped them off. Conquering kings didn’t ride donkeys, they had war horses. Ever notice how many statues of famous warriors depict them mounted on a horse (hence the image above)?
But Jesus is on a donkey, an animal that should have alerted them that He had different intentions in mind. I live in Arizona, where one can rent the “Beer Burro” for their wedding or party (see: BeerBurro.com). Nothing says a party like grabbing a cold one from the side saddle of a donkey.
I can’t help but think of this when I read about Jesus riding into Jerusalem. Whatever image a donkey brings to your mind, it probably isn’t one of intimidation.
In case the donkey wasn’t enough, they also had Old Testament prophets to help them out. We get a beautiful passage of what to look for in the book of Zechariah, and it serves as a good reminder for us today of what we should look to see when it comes to Jesus.
Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt. I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem. I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates Rivet to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:9-10).
Even today as we continue to witness violence upon violence, we cling to our weapons in hopes that in them we will find what we want. This is usually our lens through which we process the news whether it’s the mass shooting in Boulder or the painful details of the George Floyd trial. We offer prayers but often little else. Secretly we think that if we just have bigger battle chariots and warhorses than our enemy we will be fine. But that isn’t the kind of peace Jesus offers us (a fact that is often missed by Christians when we hyper-focus on our “rights” from the Constitution).
Let us not celebrate this Easter as if Jesus is a spiritual leader only and is too far removed or distanced from our “real world.” Jesus wouldn’t have been killed if He only offered spiritual ideas. Those in power realized that His ideas threatened the very system they relied upon. Those same ideas threaten our systems today as well.
Jesus is coming, but He isn’t coming the way we expect Him to. He’s going to get rid of many of the things we cling to for security. And that forces us to decide if we even want what He’s offering us. As my friend Greg Boyd has said, “The resurrection is God’s endorsement of the cross.” The sacrificial power-under actually works in the end (often only after we lose or die first). Turns out we won’t need those warhorses or AR-15s after all.
Your king is coming, but not everyone wants a king like that.
I can easily start making Jesus into the type of king I’m most comfortable with, but that will always cause me to miss what He’s actually doing. I’d encourage you to pray and meditate on Zechariah 9:9-10 each day up till Easter with a simple prayer that we may fully see the type of king Jesus really is.Your king is coming, but not everyone wants a king like that. Click To Tweet