Welcome a Different Kind of King

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “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.’ ” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” – Matthew 21:1-11

Who would have expected it? The King of the Universe comes to win the greatest victory, and he comes riding not on a war-horse, or in a golden chariot, but on a beast of burden – a humble donkey! He even needed to make the arrangements himself. What conquering army commander needs to plan his own victory parade? But Jesus has to give his disciples specific instructions on how they should prepare his entrance into the Holy City.

Jesus is a different kind of king. Instead of saying, “Here I am, carry me!” he chose to carry our sins and burdens. Instead of announcing that all should bow down and serve him, he says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).  The crown he wore was not laced with diamonds, but woven together with thorns. The throne he ascended was not plated with gold and padded with velvet, but made from wood and covered with splinters.

This is exactly how Jesus wanted to come. Not in all of his power and glory as God’s Son, but humbly as our Savior. Why? Because in his deepest humiliation he found his greatest glory. In lowliness he suffered God’s wrath for a world’s worth of sin. But under the deepest humility was the perfect life and innocent blood of the Son of God. With these he conquered sin and death and freed us from the threat of hell.

How can we not help but shout with the crowds, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

Prayer: We praise you, O God, for the great acts of love by which you redeemed us through your Son, Jesus Christ. As he was acclaimed by those who scattered their garments and branches of palm in his path, so may we always hail him as our King and follow him with perfect confidence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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