Luke 19:28–40 (ESV)
The Triumphal Entry
28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’ ” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 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, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Picture this: you’re a Jew in the first century. You, like every other Jew in history, await the coming Messiah. Your expectations are high. You want him to appear, overthrow the Roman Empire, establish his rule, and reign through Jerusalem. You want him riding into town on a war horse. Instead, you hear news of Jesus, who might be the Christ himself. He’s riding into town on a donkey.
Kings could ride on two different options: a horse or a donkey. The horse symbolized the king’s declaration and waging of war. This king was in the heat of battle. The donkey, however, symbolized peace. Here was Christ, the Prince of Peace, riding into town to bring more peace and joy than can possibly be imagined.
And the people praised him and glorified him for it. Without understanding what was going on, they threw their most valuable things, their cloaks, to be walked on by the Lord as they shouted praises. It is tough not to hear the common refrain in the hymns of the faith and be overwhelmed with great joy.
Hark! The Herald Angels sing:
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
Joy to the World:
Joy to the World the Lord is come
Let earth receive her king!
Let every heart prepare him room
When Christ enters Jerusalem, he is boldly proclaiming, “My hour has come.” What a marvelous thing for Christians to ponder. Whatever you may be enduring, whatever ills and troubles befall you, remember that the fullness of time did come. This King of kings came, not warring with the Romans, but making peace on our behalf with God. I hope that you’ll meditate on such things as these this week.
Soli Deo Gloria.