The King is here. But where are you going? Are you going with the crowd – even a ‘Christian’ crowd? Or are you standing out – living for the true King, Jesus Christ – who came on a donkey and died on the cross?
“Right now as we speak Uganda is under lock down, no cars, no boda bodas, you cannot move. And it’s interesting to hear and read that the triumphal entry is a story about a trip that Jesus makes. It is a story of a trip that He makes into Jerusalem – fully aware that He was bound to be crucified right at the cross.”
The King is Here
Easter is here and the King is here! This week is special because we get into the passion week. The very, very last week of Jesus on this earth before He faced the cross. This day I would like to share a reflection from the Gospels about the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
The media is filled with stories about COVID-19. And Corona has been the story that has been shaping society thus far. This particular day, I would like to encourage us from the theme, the King is here! In Matthew 21, 1-11, we read the story of Jesus moving into Jerusalem as the King. Six days before the Passover every Jew from all over Palestine gathered together – and they gathered around the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus, being Jewish, together with His disciples actually walked towards Jerusalem.
The triumphal entry is a story of a trip that Jesus makes into Jerusalem – fully aware that He was bound to be crucified right at the cross.
Jesus Moves Towards Jerusalem
Immediately in this story we see 3 movements: Jesus is moving from Jericho into Jerusalem. So He is moving with His disciples. The second movement we see is when Jesus actually sends His disciples to pick the young donkey. The third movement that we see is Jesus entering the city.
Right now as we speak Uganda is under lock down, no cars, no boda bodas, you cannot move. And it’s interesting to hear and read that the triumphal entry is a story about a trip that Jesus makes. It is a story of a trip that He makes into Jerusalem – fully aware that He was bound to be crucified right at the cross.
Honoured By the Crowd
And so 6 days before His crucifixion, He is actually moving. He is fully aware that He is going to face the cross. The Pharisees are already angry at Him because crowds have gathered around Him. The Pharisees are not happy with him because more and more people are beginning to actually follow Him. And so in Matthew chapter 21, where we have read from today, Jesus is moving into Jerusalem.
A King on a Donkey
And He stops right on the slopes of Mount Olive. He gives His disciples an instruction. He tells them: “go right in the city, you are going to find a donkey, untie it.” He tells them untie the donkey. “Untie it and if someone asks you, tell them the master wants the donkey.” And indeed the disciples go and find someone who tells them “where are you taking the donkey?” And they tell them, “the master wants it”. They get the donkey and bring it to Jesus.
The donkey is brought to Jesus and Jesus mounts the donkey. He climbs on this donkey. And He begins to enter into Jerusalem. The Bible tells us that there were crowds that had gathered. Crowds so many that had paraded the streets. They had paraded the streets and were giving Jesus a grand entry. This was a parade that was granted normally to war generals as they came back from wars where they had actually conquered. Jesus is unique – He comes on a donkey.
A horse was a symbol of might. But Jesus chooses to come on a donkey. He chooses to come on something that was considered humble.
The Humble King is Here
Now, it was hard to imagine. For a military general it was expected that they come on a horse. Because a horse was a symbol of military power. A horse was a symbol of might. But Jesus chooses to come on a donkey. He chooses to come on something that was considered humble. It was a young donkey, it was untamed. Jesus as King is humble. As a humble king, He comes on a donkey. The King that is here is humble. He is a King that has chosen to take a posture of humility. He left His throne in heaven and came to dwell among men. The King is humble.
Welcomed by the Crowd – For Now
Second we see this crowd, so massive a crowd! Close to thousands of people that lined up the streets. They lay palm leaves on the streets. They lay clothes on the streets to welcome the King. And the crowd shouted “hosanna, hosanna in the highest!” And this was a declaration of “come and save us. We beseech you to save us!” It was a cry of salvation. The crowd jubilantly celebrated. The crowd had so many people, the crowd was so full of people that were all saying “come and save us! Come and save us!” as they proclaimed “hosanna in the highest.” They proclaimed Hosanna in the highest as an affirmation that He was King. And indeed they welcomed Him.
This is a crowd that a week before was proclaiming “hosanna in the highest!” A week later the same crowd is saying “crucify Him.”
As I think about this crowd, this was a crowd that a week before is proclaiming “hosanna in the highest!” A week after the same crowd is saying “crucify Him.” The same crowd is saying, “crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” And as Jesus is moving in, this crowd is saying hosanna in the highest.
Where are You Going?
COVID-19 has separated people. Right now as we live under what has been called social distancing. We’ve not been able to meet as congregations. And this is a time to separate from the crowd. That if one has been part of a crowd, just following the crowd, this is a time to test one’s faith. Where you can no longer gather as you actually gather. This has been a time to actually neutralise.
If one has been part of a crowd, just following the crowd, this is a time to test one’s faith.
Who do you Follow?
For people who have mega churches and believed that “no it is only when I speak to thousands as I see them that I’m serving the Lord.” We have come to realise that in times as these, it is actually in the small groups. So the big and the small have been neutralised. And you as an individual, have gotten to a very definitive time. Whether you shall follow the crowd or actually stand out from the crowd. And right in this story there were many that were a part of this crowd. It is so easy to join in a crowd and follow the celebration. People easily join crowds but have no personal convictions. This same crowd that said “hosanna in the highest”, a week after was the same crowd that was going to say “crucify Him.”
It is so easy to join in a crowd and follow the celebration. People easily join crowds but have no personal convictions.
How do we Stand Out from the Crowd?
In COVID-19, I believe all through it, God is at work. God is at work shaping the hearts and minds of men and women. My prayer and cry is that you shall not follow the crowd through this season. My prayer and cry is that you shall actually stand out from the crowd. Jesus as King is here. And as King He has entered Jerusalem. I would want to believe that as King He continues to enter into the world. Jesus enters a world – one that is broken. The world that we are living in is sinful. And for so long the world had turned its back against God.
3 Truths to Remember
COVID-19 is a reminder for us to genuinely welcome the King. As we turn back our eyes back to Him. The King is here! And as I think about the King being here, I am reminded of the posture that He takes. He takes a posture of humility. And indeed COVID-19 has brought the world to its knees. Great nations have come to their knees. May we be reminded as human beings that we are actually limited. We not in a way in charge. God is in charge.
COVID-19 is a reminder for us to genuinely welcome the King.
Throughout this season as we are under lockdown at a time of COVID-19. I would want to remind us of 3 truths.
1. The King is Here
Despite the presence of evil in this world. The King is here and He continues to reign despite the presence of evil.
2. The King is Humble
The King is here and the king has taken a posture of humility. The king is here and he has come in as a humble king. The king reminds us at a time such as this to take a posture of humility. He comes as one that is extremely humble and doesn’t think of self. But for the sake of you and me He dies at the cross. The King is here and takes the posture of humility.
3. The King Has an Agenda
The king is here and He prioritises the agenda of His father. I would want to challenge us though this season that the King is here and our priority is to actually fulfil His agenda.
The King came and he entered Jerusalem 2000 years ago and the King will return. He came the first time riding a colt, He is coming back riding a white horse. He came the first time alone, He is coming back the second time with angels and saints. The King is here. He came the first time He was mocked and jeered. The second time the King comes He will be feared and everyone will tremble at the sound of His name. The King is here.
The first time that He comes, He comes as a lamb to be sacrificed, the second time He is coming He is coming as a lion.
The first time he comes He is hung on a cross, on a piece of wood he is hung. The second time He comes, He will be sitting on a throne. And indeed the first time He is judged on the throne by Pilate. The second time He comes, He comes as a judge. The first time that He comes, He comes as a lamb to be sacrificed, the second time He is coming He is coming as a lion. The King is here.