A Different Kind of King
Living God, refine the dross of my life and this day into gold. May my life be a worthy gift to You.
Read MATTHEW 21:1-11
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver, ‘Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe, but he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you'” (C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).
Jericho to Jerusalem was no afternoon stroll–15 miles and a climb of 3,500 feet–but the hardest part lay ahead. Jesus’ journey was moving to a climax. Jerusalem would be physically challenging, but the spiritual challenge would be even greater. Jesus’ request for a donkey (2) has nothing to do with the tiring journey. His carefully prepared entrance into the city (the only recorded instance of him riding) was intentionally conspicuous. It was an acted parable, like those of the Old Testament prophets.
Although Mark and Luke also record this incident, only Matthew refers to two animals. The mention of a king “riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (5; Zech. 9:9) is an example of parallelism–only one animal–but it was common for a colt which had not yet been ridden to travel with its mother, possibly explaining Matthew’s account. Again, Matthew points to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (4). The upside-down kingdom was predicted long before: “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey” (5). That’s not how kings usually entered cities. This will be no triumphal procession.
Meanwhile the crowds (had they travelled with him from Galilee?) are clear about what they think. Recognizing the symbolism, they prepare the way for his entrance, cutting branches from the trees, spreading them in the road along with their cloaks (8). For them this is the Messiah, arriving in Jerusalem to begin his reign (9). For those in the city it is much less clear (10). The scene is being set. Adulation won’t last for long. So our own priorities are challenged. Are we ready to worship a king who is “gentle and riding on a donkey”? Or would we prefer a different kind of kingdom?
How is Jesus’ example being followed by you? By the leaders in your church? Pray for “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1).
Lord Jesus, release Your power in me. Take my ordinary life to do extraordinary things through me.
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