Foundations of Our Faith Day 1: The Triumphal Entry
For the next two weeks, we will follow Jesus from His entry into Jerusalem where He was praised and honored, to His death and resurrection, and finally to His promise to return again. So much happened in such a short period of time, yet these events are the backbone of our faith—of the gospel message itself. As you follow us on this journey, our prayer is that your faith will be ignited. If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, we pray you will find the answer to your greatest need in Jesus, the Son of God.
And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:35-38, ESV)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9, ESV)
Have you ever been so excited for something that you almost can’t stand it? Maybe you have a favorite holiday, like Christmas, and the entire season gets you pumped. As soon as November 1 rolls around, you’re ready to decorate your tree and get the Christmas music playing (I may or may not know someone that does that). Or maybe you get excited about a vacation that you and your family/friends have been planning for months. You’ve spent a great deal of time picking the destination, where you will stay, the places you will eat, and the activities that you will participate in. As it gets closer, you’re counting down the days before it’s time to leave, and the excitement is at its peak.
I envision a similar sense of excitement in Luke 19 when the crowd gathered to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem. We read that they “rejoiced” and offered “praise” to God when they saw Jesus entering the city (v.37). That Jesus would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey was prophesied in Zechariah 9. There are so many prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus’ coming that were fulfilled exactly, and they are a testament to the nature of God and how He is faithful to His promises.
If you’re like me, you might be wondering why the King of Kings would enter a city riding on a donkey. Didn’t He deserve more of a grand entrance than that? In our society today, world leaders are surrounded by droves of security personnel. They can’t merely drive down the street as they please; it all has to be orchestrated even to the smallest detail. Jesus’ entrance was nothing of the sort; He humbly rode in on a donkey that wasn’t even His own. It’s a lesson for us to remember, not to be dazzled by all the material possessions and lifestyles we are surrounded by in this world. If the very King of kings did not require those things in His life, then we don’t need to chase after these things either. It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of comparison, looking at what others have and constantly trying to attain the next “material goal,” but this just leaves us feeling let down and empty. Instead, let’s be like Jesus and live not for the world but for God and God alone.
I appreciate not only Jesus’ humility when it came to material possessions, but also the fact that He was humble in His character as well. He didn’t demand that they give Him honor and praise (although He was certainly worthy of all that and more). In our society we are so focused on praising self that it’s easy as a Christian to sink into that mindset. Sometimes we don’t want to help in projects or outreach efforts unless we are praised or thanked (I’m just exposing my own shortcomings when it comes to being prideful). If the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who is worthy of all our praise didn’t demand it from those with whom He came in contact, who am I to think I deserve praise?
May we take the example of our Savior from this passage and practice humility in our own lives. Humility and meekness aren’t qualities that the world champions, but the Lord honors those who are lowly in heart and spirit. Instead of striving to be like the world, may we live as set apart ones, displaying humility and giving others a powerful picture of who Christ is.