|Palm Sunday scene in stained glass - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold your king is coming to you
He is just and having salvation
Lowly and riding on a donkey
A colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9
For anyone familiar with the Bible I'm sure today's verse recalls an event from Jesus’ life – along with, perhaps, the memory of waving palm branches in Sunday School or singing songs like “Hosanna Loud Hosanna” or “All Glory Laud and Honor.” Here the prophet Zechariah predicts, 400 years before the event, Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We celebrate it on Palm Sunday.
Old Testament prophecies fulfilled hundreds of years later illustrate how remarkable the Bible is. Its storyline of creation, fall, redemption and consummation (ending in heaven and hell) is still playing out.
Though donkeys might not seem an appropriate mode of transportation for nobility, other Old Testament rulers used them. Jair, a judge, had thirty sons who rode thirty donkeys to their thirty towns (Judges 20:4). Another judge, Abdon, stabled seventy donkeys to accommodate his sons and grandsons (Judges 12:14).
Donkeys were a symbol of humble, patient service. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, not only did the people recognize Him as a king, but one who came in humility.
That day the people of Jerusalem “rejoice(ed) greatly” by taking off their cloaks and spreading them on the ground for the animal to walk over. This was another ancient custom of the recognition of a ruler (2 Kings 9:11-13).
They also waved palm branches – something that was reminiscent of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:40). By spreading their clothes and palm branches in front of the donkey carrying Jesus, they proclaimed Him as their expected king and deliverer – the Messiah.
Of course we know the story of how a few days later all that changed. The crowds shouted another verdict – and Jesus was crucified. But God’s plan was not thwarted. Instead, Jesus’ death and resurrection proved Him king of so much more than just the nation of Israel in 1 B.C. (or however that year is designated).
The same prophetic Bible that predicted Jesus entry into Jerusalem predicts His eventual coming again as King (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Timothy 6:13-15; see also Revelation 19:15-16 and Revelation 17:14). Do we believe this will actually happen? Do we live with the expectation of this in mind? For just as surely as Old Testament prophecies came true, this one will too. It could happen today!
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I acknowledge You as King of my life. Help me to live today with the expectation of Your imminent return in mind. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.