The Triumphal Entry

This scene is commonly known as the Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is cause for celebration, the welcoming of the long-awaited Messiah/King. It is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in Zechariah 9:9:

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.

By riding on a donkey, Jesus was claiming to be the expected Messiah of Israel, and the crowd responded appropriately. But what does it mean for Jesus to be our Messiah?

The word “Messiah” is the Hebrew word for “anointed one” or “king.” Because of the many Old Testament prophecies about God sending this figure to them, the Jewish people were waiting expectantly for a “king” who would free Israel from the clutches of the Roman government. This warrior/king would overthrow the Romans and re-establish Israel as a separate nation once again. Jesus was not what they expected, but in this event, they still hoped He would fulfill this expectation.

To be sure, Jesus was the Messianic figure spoken of in the Old Testament. Yet, He transformed all conceptions of what the term meant. Jesus was more focused on building the kingdom of God and not the kingdom of Israel. This confused the Jews, which explains why they would cry out in victory over Him on Sunday, but on Friday would scream, “Crucify Him!” Oh how quickly our loyalty shifts when we don’t get what we want.

What does Jesus the promised Messiah mean to you and me today? Jesus is more than just our Savior. He is our King. To better understand Jesus as king, we should look at the “kingdom story” found in the Bible.

The kingdom story is about God being king of His creation. God has always desired to be the reigning king of our lives.

When God created the world, He was King. His Plan A was to be King of His creation. Even after sin entered the world, God was still King of His people. God led His people through Moses and Joshua, then through priests and prophets and judges. God was the only rightful king of His people.

In 1 Samuel 8, God’s people decided they wanted an earthly king like the other nations. Out of God’s desire to give His creation free will, He granted this request. He gave them an earthly king. He still desired to be King of His people, but He allowed His people to choose another king in place of Him. This was Plan B.

The remaining portions of the Old Testament are record after record of humanity struggling to be their own king. Plan B did not work out very well. Remember: God didn’t initiate Plan B. Man did. People give God a hard time for what is written in the Old Testament, but God didn’t endorse the activities in the Old Testament as much as He allowed the consequences of sinful man to be played out on the big screen of Scripture for the rest of us to see.

Jesus came on the scene when people were looking for an earthly king to restore the kingdom back to its original glory. They had in mind the kingdom of David. God had in mind the kingdom of original creation. Jesus ushered in this new kingdom and this new way of living. Then Jesus died on a cross and made the final payment for the brokenness that resulted from the first sin in the garden. He redeemed humanity on the cross. And He will one day return to consummate the relationship. But until then, Jesus is king of His people (the church) and we are now living in a day where God’s Plan A is being realized once again!

As we prepare our hearts for the Easter celebration, let’s be sure to see Jesus as He really is. Immediately after He ascended into heaven in Acts 1:9, He was seated at the right hand of the Father on the throne of the universe. This is the Jesus we get to talk with today. He is not some small, insignificant genie we bring our wishlist to. He is the King of the universe and is worthy of respect and honor.

The great news for you and me is He desires a relationship with us and if we are Christians then we are children of the King! If we are children of the King then let’s be sure we begin to act like royalty today.

The Triumphal Entry

by Inspiration Ministries

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” – Zechariah 9:9 NASB

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem in the days before His crucifixion, He was fulfilling a prophecy given to Zechariah hundreds of years earlier. Through eyes of faith, this prophet saw how a King would come to Jerusalem. Even though a King, He was humble and would be mounted on the “foal of a donkey.”

When the day finally came, “a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road” in preparation for Jesus’ arrival. They shouted praises, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” and cried “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

This was a major event, for “all the city was stirred.” People wondered what could have caused such an uproar. The crowds announced, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee” (Matthew 21:8-11).

The whole community seemed to join together to praise and honor Jesus. Yet, just a few days later, Jerusalem crowds would cry for His crucifixion. But Jesus was not surprised.

At an earlier Passover celebration, many people said that they believed in Him. But Jesus knew that this belief was shallow and superficial. They may have spoken words of praise, yet their hearts were not totally committed. Faced with new circumstances or pressures, they easily could change. Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, for He “knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25).

Today, many people say that they are Christians but have not made Jesus their Lord. They say they believe but only have a superficial commitment.

How about you? Is Jesus the Lord of your life? Is He your Lord all the time? Praise Him from your heart, and commit your life to Him.

The Triumphal Entry

“This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden’” (vv. 4–5).

– Matthew 21:1–11

Riding on a humble beast of burden is not the way in which most people would expect a king to enter into His reign, but that is exactly how the Lord of glory entered His. Though almost no one could see it at the time, Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday marked the beginning of the final events that would lead to His exaltation (Matt. 21:1–11).

When we say that almost no one could see it at the time, we are not speaking of what the crowd of Passover pilgrims first thought when they saw Jesus approaching Jerusalem on a donkey. The greatest king in their history, after all, often rode through the Holy City and the Promised Land in a similar manner (2 Sam. 13:291 Kings 1:33). Thus, the people who cried “Hosanna to the Son of David!” on Palm Sunday expected a mighty, conquering king, one who would throw off the yoke of their Gentile oppressors just as David had defeated the Philistines centuries earlier.

Yet the people failed to see the true import of the Davidic king riding on a lowly beast of burden. Yes, David was a conquering king, but he defeated his enemies not in his own strength but in the strength of the Lord. Moreover, for all of his military prowess, David could not provide permanent rest to his people. After his death, his son Solomon enjoyed peace for a time, but this golden age came to an end when God brought enemies against Solomon to discipline him for his idolatry (1 Kings 11:9–40).

The true enemies that had to be defeated were not pagan Gentiles but rather sin and death. This could not be done on a white horse and with great armies. Instead, it took humility, a willingness to take the form of a servant and submit to the punishment that God’s people deserve for their sin (Phil. 2:5–11). Only by receiving the worst that sin and death could throw at him could the Davidic king “outsmart” our enemies. In thinking that they were gaining the upper hand, sin, death, and even Satan himself did not see that their actions were ultimately working under the sovereignty of God so that His wrath would be satisfied in the death of His Son. They did not see that by killing Jesus they were actually ensuring their own defeat, for the Son of David whom they murdered was stronger than death itself. Passing through death, He conquered it by rising again. Jesus took the worst that His foes could do and triumphed over it. His humble entry into Jerusalem in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy anticipated His final conquering act.

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