Royal processions from England to Thailand to South Africa have certain elements in common: uniformed soldiers, banners and flags, and a gloriously bedecked king—riding in an ornate horse-drawn carriage or carried on a golden, jeweled throne.
In today’s passage, Jesus paused near the Mount of Olives—two miles from Jerusalem—to orchestrate His procession. He told two disciples to go into a nearby village (probably Bethphage or Bethany) and retrieve the unridden colt they would find there. If anyone questioned them, they should say, “The Lord needs it.” At that time, a dignitary or rabbi could borrow property at will, so Jesus’ request was not unusual.
The disciples followed the instructions, and Jesus’ predictions proved true. He not only predicted the donkey; He knew the entire sequence of events that would culminate in His own death. This knowledge did not stop Him. The disciples draped their cloaks on the colt; other people spread their garments on the road. As the procession passed the Mount of Olives, the crowd of disciples broke out in joyful praise to God using the words of Psalm 118:26 and calling Jesus “the king.” The fact that their adoration was for His miraculous power was telling and helps us understand why many of these same people would turn their back on Him just days later.
Some Pharisees were also in the crowd, keeping an eye. They told Jesus to silence His disciples. The royal references were too much. But Jesus told them that if His disciples didn’t cry out, creation would anyhow. The rocks understood who He was even more than the religious leaders. Then, in His final approach to Jerusalem, Jesus wept over the city. Their rejection would cost them everything.
>> On this Christmas Eve, we remember Jesus as a baby in a manger. Perhaps you have a donkey in your nativity set. But just years later, Jesus would ride a donkey and be celebrated as king. Today, we honor both the baby and the King!
It is only by Your grace that we recognize Jesus as Messiah. You softened our hearts and opened our intellects to the possibility of faith. You prepared us to repent and submit, and when we did, You welcomed us with open arms!