Procession of the King
Zechariah 9:1-10; John 1:29b; Matthew 21:1-11
Zec 9:9-10 NKJV "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of
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. (10) I
will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle
bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be 'from sea to sea, And from
the River to the ends of the earth.' Zion
Joh 1:29 NKJV ..."Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
I recently started watching a TV series on Netflix called “Blue Bloods”. It's actually a really good series about a family of New York City police officers, starring Tom Selleck, who plays the Police Commissioner of NYC.
What really impresses me is that every episode shows the entire family, including grandkids… coming together after Church on Sunday… and sitting down to a family dinner where they pray as a family before the meal.
So far, the series has only had positive statements concerning Christianity... and one episode even spoke of Jesus in a manner that's just unheard of in Hollywood anymore. I was really surprised... but pleased!
Anyway... I only brought any of this up because I wanted to use the show's title... “Blue Bloods”. Though the TV show is using it to reference the fact that they're NYPD Police... “Blue Blood” is actually a term that dates back to the 18th or 19th century and was used in reference to royalty. Many believed back then, that someone who was of royal lineage had a different color blood—blue, rather than red like everyone else.
It's thought that this belief may have come from the appearance of blue veins among the members of royalty, which, because of the paleness of their untanned skin, caused the blue veins to stand out.
The blue veins of the common folk, of course, would be less visible because their skin was tanned from working outdoors.
Now... the notion that there are lines of “royal blood” probably goes back to the very first strongmen (such as Nimrod) who were able to gather others around them and establish themselves as kings... Their children... and then their children's children would take over the throne and before long a royal line is established.
Now, the Bible is absolutely clear that all those who are in authority (such as kings and kingdoms) are appointed to that position by God.
Rom 13:1-2 NKJV Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (2) Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
But the Bible is also clear that though there may be many man-made royal lines established through strength and cunning... there is only ONE truly royal line...
And we're first introduced to this royal line when God, speaking to David through the prophet Nathan, said...
2Sa 7:16 NKJV And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.
Of course we know that this lineage leads to... and ends with, Jesus. The King of kings and Lord of lords. And ever since the promise made to David... the Jews, down through the age… had anticipated the coming of One who would be of the line of David who would fulfill all the OT prophecies and establish a Kingdom where truth, righteousness and justice reigned...
The only problem though... is that though they claimed to believe that this Messiah would come... it was only lip service, because when He did come... they rejected Him... tortured Him… and then brutally killed Him.
* * * * *
God had established several “feasts”, or “festivals” for the Israelite's to celebrate each year. Three of these were known as “pilgrimage” feasts because it was required of every Jewish male to attend these three, every year in Jerusalem. These pilgrimage feasts were... Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.
Now... because of this attendance requirement... you can imagine that during these three feasts... Jerusalem would be overflowing with humanity. And think of this... in most cases, we can assume that the married men also brought their wives and children to Jerusalem with them.
It's been estimated that there could have been over 2 million people in Jerusalem during this Passover that Jesus was going toward. He had left Galilee for this final journey to Jerusalem back in chapter 19, and according to John's gospel (12:1-2), He arrived in Bethany where He would stay in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus... 6 days before Passover.
The next day, Jesus left Bethany for Jerusalem... and on His way, He drew near to another small village called Bethphage, where we see Him set in motion certain events that will ultimately lead to both the Cross... and the Resurrection...
And He begins by showing the people...
I. The King Comes in Peace
Mat 21:1-5 NKJV Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, (2) saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. (3) And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them." (4) All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: (5) "TELL THE DAUGHTER OF
'BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, LOWLY, AND SITTING ON A DONKEY, A COLT,
THE FOAL OF A DONKEY.' " ZION
Jesus is always in control of the events that affect His life. Nothing is left to chance when it comes to fulfilling the will and the purpose of God. Matter-of-fact, there is really no such thing as “chance” if God is. Because if God is, then His predetermined purpose and counsel will come to pass.
When Jesus sent the two disciples into Bethphage to get the mare and her colt... He initiated the start of His own coronation. You see... He was very familiar with the prophecy that Matthew quoted from Zechariah ...
Zec 9:9 NKJV "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of
! 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. Zion
And He knew full well that this prophecy would have to be fulfilled in order for the people of Jerusalem to recognize the significance of this day, and the symbolism involved... when they saw Him coming into Jerusalem... not walking as He usually is… but riding on the colt of a donkey.
A colt... the foal of a donkey! Not a horse... but a small donkey! It almost seems inappropriate, doesn't it. It's almost comical. Because the donkeys of the
East were small animals similar to what we know as burros. So here is an adult man riding a small
donkey... His legs are kinda “splayed” out because of the animals round belly…
and His feet close to dragging the ground... and especially so when you
consider that Christ was riding the foal, and not the mare!
You know... when we think of a King making an entrance... we tend to think of Him arriving on the back of a beautiful white stallion... or something like that... don't we? But here is Jesus... the One we know as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords... getting on the back of this lowly pack animal.
But guess what!? That's exactly what God's prophet predicted would happen... That's what God's Son did... because this was part of God's divine plan! The Son wouldn't come this time in earth's splendor... or reign with earthly power... or have great earthly wealth...
No... the Son came this time in poverty... with meekness and humbleness. His incarnation would be the time of His humiliation... not His glorification.
Though a day is coming when He will return once again in glory and honor and power... this time He would be meek and lowly… the bearer of the world's sin...
So... nothing would be more appropriate than for Him to enter the Holy City, riding on a lowly beast of burden...
II. The King Acclaimed by the People
Mat 21:6-8 NKJV So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. (7) They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. (8) And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
Now... there are those who say that Jesus made prior arrangements with the owner of this mare and colt... and that's why the disciples were able to find the animals as they did and then, according to Mark's gospel...didn't receive much of a challenge for untying them and walking away...
Mar 11:4-6 NKJV So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. (5) But some of those who stood there said to them, "What are you doing, loosing the colt?" (6) And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.
And... I really don't think that its a necessary requirement to believe that everything Jesus did had to be miraculous. He was both God and man... and I'm sure there had to be things He did simply as a man...
But in this instance... I do believe that this is another example of Christ's omniscience. He knew where these animals would be... just as He knew which side of the boat the disciples needed to cast their nets in order to catch fish... and just as He knew that the one fish Peter caught would have enough money in its mouth to pay the temple tax for all of them...(Mat 17:27)
So, to me, this is just another example of Christ's omniscience in action. Plus... it was a well known custom of the Jews of that day... to loan out their animal... or a cart... or some such thing... when asked for it by a rabbi or a religious leader. They all knew that it was only a loan, and would be shortly returned to them.
When the disciples find the animals just as Christ said... and they brought them back to Him... they began to lay their cloaks on its back in order to provide a makeshift saddle for Him to sit on.. Then, while steadying the colt... they assist Jesus in getting on the animal's back.
* * * * *
You know... I've participated in a few parades here and there. And I have this picture in my mind similar to a parade's staging area. The disciples are preparing with Jesus for this trip into Jerusalem... Other people are arriving... on their own way into the city for the feast... Wondering what's going on with this prophet and His disciples... Many of the new arrivals to the staging area are from Galilee and know who He is and what He's been doing throughout Judea and Galilee... healing the sick, curing disease, feeding the hungry, and even raising the dead...
And the crowd begins to get larger and larger as other people passing by... pause to check it out and maybe they start to hear rumors... about this miracle working prophet... and how that it looked like something big was about to happen...
Could this have anything to do with our hope of Messiah coming? Is this the One who was promised… so long ago?
And when those who are hanging around… see what's occurring... When they see Jesus getting up on that colt... sitting on the cloaks of some of His disciples... and they realize that the path they're on will lead them right to the eastern gate... they begin to understand that this is huge! Zechariah's prophecy is coming to pass... right before their eyes...
And the level of excitement begins to grow and grow... people begin to want to take part in this... they want to do what they can to show their support for this prophet... that they're with Him... supporting Him... taking part in His coming into His kingdom!
They have looked for this moment all their lives! They have for generations anticipated the arrival of the One who would complete their hope... fulfill their expectations... throw off the Roman yoke... and establish Messiah's kingdom of truth... righteousness... and justice...
So they begin to lay down their own cloaks on the road before Him... a sign of submission to the monarch... as if they were saying... “We place ourselves at your feet, even to walk on if necessary.”
Then others begin to cut down palm branches to lay before Him... and still others wave palm branches (like they do during Tabernacles)... the crowd may even be in multiples of thousands, before and behind Him as He begins to make His way down the hill toward Jerusalem...
III. The King Crowned with Praise
Mat 21:9-11 NKJV Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!' Hosanna in the highest!" (10) And when He had come into
, all the city was moved, saying,
"Who is this?" (11) So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus,
the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee." Jerusalem
I've heard descriptions of what this scene may have looked like from people who have been to Israel and are familiar with the area.
They say that when you stand on the Mount of Olives and look to Jerusalem and the eastern gate... it appears that “as the crow” flies... you might be able to pick up a rock and throw it and reach the gate (whether you could actually reach the gate or not is irrelevant... it “looks” like you could...)... It appears to be that close...
But... if you were to walk from the Mount of Olives to the eastern gate... you'd have to take a winding path down... making the trip much longer than it would appear.
Now… all the while Jesus and this multitude were making their way down from the Mount Olives toward Jerusalem... the people of Jerusalem would be able to see all that was going on... coming down the hill.
They would have been watching all the commotion... the shouts of Hosanna... the palms waving and being laid in front of this person riding toward the city on a colt. They would have seen the other people laying their cloaks down in front of this man... which was a well recognized sign of submission to one who's greater...
The people of Jerusalem didn’t know Jesus as well as the country folk of Galilee… because most of His ministry was outside of Jerusalem. But excitement is contagious!
And as they watched this multitude slowly arrive before this man… and their shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”… “Hosanna in the highest”… All of these being Messianic declarations! They were acknowledging Christ’s Kingship and their hope that He was coming to set up His reign in Israel’s capital forever!
And when the people of Jerusalem see this “red carpet treatment” that He’s receiving... it begins to catch on throughout the city. Verse 10 says… Mat 21:10b NKJV …all the city was moved
“Moved” would be putting it lightly. The word used here is “sieo”, which means to vibrate, agitate, quake…
There’s Christian rock band called Family Force Five that has a song that would describe Jerusalem at this moment… it’s called… “Shake’n like an earthquake!”
There was such a commotion going on that Luke tells us that the Pharisees scolded Jesus for it… telling Him to make them stop! And Jesus’ reply to this demand is an open declaration of His deity…
Luk 19:40 NKJV But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."
If men withhold their praise… the very earth itself will shout the wonders and glories of Christ!
But as excited and as jubilant as the people seem to be… it’s clear that they’re still missing the point of all of this. Because when they’re asked, “Who is this?”… Their response is… Mat 21:11b NKJV …"This is Jesus, the prophet from
Nazareth of Galilee."
Not the “Messiah of God”… but the “prophet from Nazareth”. And because the crowds have once again failed to recognize who He was and what He came to do…
In their disappointment at their unrealized expectations… they will soon turn on Him. And those who on this day were shouting “Hosanna”… will soon be shouting “Crucify Him… Crucify Him!”
You see… they expected one thing… but they got another. They wanted a Jesus who would get rid of the Roman oppressor, and bring about a Kingdom of peace, prosperity and deliverance from sickness. They wanted a Christ who would satisfy their desire for material wealth and welfare…
But what they got was… Joh 1:29 NKJV ... The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
* * * * *
If the main reason I follow Christ is because I believe He will shield me from life’s hardships and heal all my sicknesses… then I’m headed for the same disillusionment the people of Jerusalem experienced back then.
If my primary motivation for following Jesus… is the fulfillment of some fleshly or earthly desire… then I’m really not following Him at all… am I?
You know… if the only thing Christ did for us in this life, was to save us from our sins… it would be enough. It would be way more than enough!
If I never received another blessing from Him in this life… I would still owe Him my life and my all… because of what He did on Calvary.
Jesus did far more for us, than this world will ever acknowledge. Because on
Calvary… God… who became man… became the perfect,
sinless sacrifice for sin.
On Calvary… our debt was paid in full… our sins were forgiven… and we were given the righteousness of Christ, through our faith in Him…