“The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” ” (John 12:12–19, NIV)It is called the Triumphal Entry of Jesus because that is literally what it is. The palm branches laid at His feet were a traditional greeting reserved for soldiers who were returning from a victorious battle. It was a hero’s welcome of the highest magnitude.
But notice what Jesus does with the pomp and circumstance. How easy it would have been for Him to ride the emotion of the crowd, mount a white stallion and ride in victorious, sword in hand, as the King of all Kings. For in fact, that is who He is.
Yet Jesus was not a king who came to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom. The donkey He rode in on was a sign of humility. A symbol of peace. Jesus had not come to be exalted on a throne but lifted up on a cross.
But oh how the crowd wanted something different. They like the idea of a Savior on their terms. A valiant King who performs miraculous signs and wonders. A King who overcomes the oppression of their enemies and restores the nation of Israel to a place of prominence among all other nations. They want a King who dominates their enemies and so they shout out to Jesus, “Be our King”, “Save Us”, “You have been sent to us by God”.
Yet in just a matter of a few hours, this very same crowd who is calling out to crown Jesus as King will raise their voices once again to crucify Him as a criminal. They want victory through dominance, Jesus will provide victory through sacrifice. They want deliverance from their enemies, Jesus will provide deliverance from their sin. They want peace through a ruler on earth, Jesus will give peace through His rule in our hearts.
It’s a choice we still make today: Do I serve God on my terms or on His? Do I bow before Him as Lord and Savior or do I simply call on Him when I get in a bind? Does my obedience flow out of worship or out of obligation?
Take time this week to approach the throne of grace with humility and worship God on His terms. Recognize His self-sacrificing love, His peace through forgiveness and His joy in redemption. Worship these attributes of our Savior and… then go and do the same.