March 26, 2019

What the King Rides

Matthew 21:1-11

See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey...

—  Zechariah 9:9

In this Lenten season as we reflect on the sacrifice of Christ, we see him riding a donkey as he comes to Jerusalem as King. This animal was symbolic of humility, peace, and King David’s royalty (see also 1 Kings 1:33). Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to show publicly that he was the chosen Son of David (another name for the promised Messiah).

We might have expected a stallion. But this surprising King rides a donkey. Jesus identifies with the lowly. The kingdom of God is totally different from the here-today, gone-tomorrow kingdoms of the world. Don’t mistake this King on a donkey for the kind of ruler we usually see in this world.

From Jesus we learn that being a king in God’s kingdom is about service and humility. A king serves. So, as we fulfill our calling, we serve the Lord and we serve one another. As we live by the guidance of the Spirit, visit people who are sick, care for those who are poor, and love our neighbors, we are kings and queens of the kingdom of heaven. That is when we are most like Jesus, who calls us to reign with him today and for eternity.

Jesus once came riding on a donkey. Next he will come riding on the clouds of heaven (Mark 14:61-62) to live with us in the new heaven and earth forever (Revelation 21- 22). Come, Lord Jesus!

King Jesus, come quickly. Reveal your reign and rule in the world today, and call us to our place within it. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Pete Byma

Pete Byma has served as a pastor of congregations in Michigan and in Washington state. Serving now as a pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he is also a consultant/coach for churches experiencing conflict, and he enjoys equipping and establishing people in ministry. He is married to Cheri, and they have four grown children and six grandchildren. Pete is also a registered soccer official and enjoys bicycling.

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