(This post is part of our blog series on Holy Week in preparation for Easter 2015. Click here to find additional posts from this series.)
Today marks the beginning of Holy Week; the week of Jesus’ final road to the cross of Calvary as His earthly ministry came to a magnificent climax. As such, I’ll be posting blogs every day this week (Sunday through Saturday) to help us as a church family to worship our Great King for his life and death throughout the week, as well as prepare our hearts to celebrate His resurrection on Easter.
In AD 33 this time of year, Jerusalem was bustling. Some say that every year as many as 2 million people made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate and remember the Passover. Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor describe the scene:
"Winds of revolution whipped through the air of Palestine throughout the first century, and Jesus, with His teaching authority and ability to capture the imagination of the masses, not least on account of His ability to heal and raise the dead, looked very much the part of the long-awaited Messiah. In order to gain and maintain power, the Romans could kill - which the did quite effectively - but how could they defeat a leader who could raise the dead at will?
After observing the Sabbath (Friday evening through Saturday evening) at Bethany, Jesus arose Sunday morning to enter the city of Jerusalem. It was March 29, AD 33 - the first day of the last week of his earthly life.”*
Take some time now to read the account of the Triumphal Entry. The account is in all 4 gospels - Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:29-44, and John 12:12-19.
What an incredible scene! The God of all creation now in flesh once again coming to the city of Jerusalem to provide a final and ultimate answer of the problem of our separation from God. There’s all sorts of prophecy being fulfilled here (check out Gen. 49:10-11, 2 Sam. 7:12-13, Zech. 9:9), and we can tend to miss the importance of this moment. When Jesus enters Jerusalem riding a lowly donkey, He’s saying something very important about who He is and what He’s like. He’s saying, with intention and purpose, that He’s the long awaited Messiah and King.
And yet, He’s humble, riding a donkey, ultimately because He came to suffer at the cross for the sins of people. He’s coming in peace; this is not a king coming to declare war. He has no troops, no war horse, riding a donkey. He’s not weak. He’s confident; assured that He’s fulfilling God’s plans. He’s intentionally enacting the purposes of God - He’s entirely in control and fulfilling everything as it should be. It’s not until after the cross that the disciples (or we) can see the glory that’s all wrapped up in this moment. The way to glory for God amongst His people is not through military might or political savvy or religious reform, it’s through death on a cross to atone for their sins.
Take some time today to worship Jesus as King. Not a war monger or a king that lords his authority over his subjects, but a King of Peace and Grace who brings true reconciliation to His people. Worship Jesus for the fantastic privilege it is to be not only a subject of His, but a co-heir of His. Praise this incredible King we serve!
Check back in tomorrow for some thoughts on the spectacular righteousness of Jesus as He cleanses the temple!
*From Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor’s fantastic book, “The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived”. It was used heavily in putting these blog posts together and I’d highly recommend it to you.