Holy Week - Day 1

Luke 19:29-40

29 As he came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead. 30 “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

32 So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. 33 And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?”

34 And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” 35 So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on.

36 As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. 37 When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

38 “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!”
39 But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”

40 He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”

The Coronated King

Zach Farrar | Community Groups Coordinator

Politics. It’s a dirty word in 2016. There isn’t a lot of genuine trust these days in political leaders. And for good reason. Democrat or Republican, we’ve all seen politicians on our “side of the aisle” go down in flames. Distrust seems to be the theme of our political age.

A similar atmosphere permeated Jesus’ day. While Rome ruled from afar, false messiahs and pretenders promising political and social revolution were repeatedly and definitively squelched. While God had promised a coming Messiah who would rule in fairness and justice (Is. 9:1-7), this Anointed One seemed absent.

Even Jesus was viewed this way by many. Could He really be the Messiah? This question followed Jesus His entire ministry (John 4:29-30). He often avoided answering the question directly – until His final week. While outside the capital city of Jerusalem, Jesus gave peculiar instructions for His followers to go and retrieve a colt for him to ride. Upon returning with the beast, Jesus mounted his ride and began traveling toward Jerusalem.

What followed was a coronation.

The triumphal entry (or Palm Sunday as it is commonly known) was Jesus’ coronation by the populace of Jerusalem as the Chosen One of God who would rule with peace, justice, and fairness. And Jesus accepted their honor.

The animal Jesus sought out, a colt, is often thought of as a humble, lowly beast of burden. But in the Jewish world, a colt was a regal animal worthy of kings and prophets (Judges 10:4, 12:14, 1 Kings 1:33). The people spreading their cloaks on the ground were engaging in a local custom: citizens greeted their king by spreading their cloaks on the road before him. Even the jubilant cry of the people screams of a coronation ceremony:

“Blessing on the King who comes
in the name of the LORD!
Peace in heaven and
Glory in the highest heaven!”

Within a few short days of being welcomed as their new King, Jesus would hang from a cross. The ecstasy of the crowd turned to disgruntled rage – He came not to overthrow Rome but to rescue all mankind from sin. For the crowd, spiritual concerns could only be solved by a restored, independent Israel. Political concerns were equally important to the forgiveness of sin. When Jesus revealed His focus was not to overthrow Rome (Luke 20:20-26), His fate was sealed. What good is a King who won’t overthrow a foreign oppressor?

Yet for this very reason Jesus came. Not to overthrow political regimes, but to break the yoke of spiritual slavery to sin. And so there He hung, days later, an outcast on a cross, vilified by those who had crowned Him king. Little did they know that the Kingdom of God would finally come, not with a crowned leader, but with a crucified King.

Post Series: Holy Week 2016

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