April 01, 2012

A King on a Donkey?

Matthew 21:1-11

“See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey…”
—Matthew 21:5


The picture would have been perfect if Jesus had been riding a white horse, used in those days by warrior kings to symbolize power and victory. But Jesus rode a donkey. Why?

Long ago, the prophet Zechariah had said the Messiah would come in righteousness, riding on a donkey, a symbol of humility and peace (Zechariah 9:9). Though the people saw Jesus fulfilling this prophecy as their Messiah (see also Psalm 118:25-26), they expected him to announce war against their Roman oppressors. But he didn’t. Perhaps that’s why the chanting crowds changed their tune from “Hosanna” to “Crucify him!” five days later (see Matthew 27:22-23).

Things haven’t changed much, have they? People are still willing to rally around the banner of Christ if it goes along with their own interests. We also desire to maintain a good Christian confession while trying to avoid the cross. But Jesus, the King who rode on a donkey, calls us to examine our walk with him as we come to the cross this Friday. Dig deep and ask, “Am I just going along for the ride? If I have to decide between God and my job, my reputation, or something else in my life—will I also change my tune?”

Palm Sunday is about King Jesus riding to the cross in total obedience to his Father. His grace and peace come by way of the cross. Will you receive him?

Lord, may we willingly obey you and joyfully follow you, the King of kings, in whose name we pray. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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