Text – Matthew 21:1-11:
21 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
This text is, at once, deeply sad but also hopeful and victorious. Jesus tells his disciples to fetch a donkey and her foal in expectation of a kingly procession into Jerusalem.
It’s sad because the people spread their coats on the roadway in acknowledgement of the regal nature of the entry while not understanding the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom. Expecting Jesus to be coming after the Romans, not the defeat of sin and death.
But Jesus’ regal procession was joyful for the same reasons. Understand it or not, Jesus was the “one who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna.” He was bringing the Kingdom which God envisioned and willed.
The truth of his was evident in the mother of James and John asking that her sons receive places of honor in the Kingdom she believed that Jesus was announcing and bringing. A kingdom based on earthly power rather than on the love of God.
Close to the end of Lent we can dwell on the kingdom God wants and what it will mean for the way we live. What of our lives will we lay down on the road to announce the King?
Father of the Eternal King, we give thanks and praise to you for the world you envisioned and are bringing through the victorious life of Jesus. We pray that you will help us to enter into this season with the expectation of people who are anticipating the arrival of the Kingdom in its fulness. In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.