It’s Palm Sunday and we are presented with the wonderful spectacle of Jesus riding into Jerusalem in triumph……on a donkey! Not exactly the sight you would expect to see if you had been invited to go and witness the arrival of the King of Kings to His Holy City. It was a fulfillment however, of an Old Testament prophesy about the coming Messiah. ‘Rejoice greatly O Daughter of Zion! See your king comes to you, righteous and having Salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey’. Zechariah 9:9. So this ‘ride’ into Jerusalem was planned not just by Jesus, (Luke 19:28-31), but by Father, Son and Holy Spirit, hundreds of years before.
It was a visual picture in fact of the whole of Jesus mission to earth to save us. Paul described it in this way, ‘He who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross’. Philippians 2:6-8.
So Jesus, from His birth into an ordinary family in an occupied land, to His death as a criminal in the most cursed way possible for a Jew, (Deuteronomy 21:23), came among us with no pomp, no ceremony and no entourage, except for a few ordinary men and women. Then when He gets His moment of acclaim, His triumphant ride into Jerusalem, He takes a donkey as his mode of transport. Thereby clearly signalling that this was no ordinary King or Kingdom, there is no war horse or chariot here, no conquering by force, but love and humility.
The simply beautiful thing about all this is that Jesus came so low, in order to take the place of the lowest of us, so that no one can say, I’ve sunk too low to be saved. He takes the treatment of the lowest of the low, in order to raise us up with Him to the highest place. He comes down from a place of Majesty and glory, to earth as a servant, and then to death as a criminal. Then, as He is raised back up to that heavenly throne, He takes us with Him. ‘God who is rich in mercy, made us alive when we were dead in transgressions…..and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6
Today I am thanking Jesus that He stooped low enough to find me, that He didn’t just seek out the rich and famous, the brightest and the best, but that He signaled by the manner of His coming, and by the way He lived, that He was going to miraculously put ‘treasure into jars of clay’ or ‘common clay pots’ 2 Corinthians 4:7 in order to show that the power is from God. I thank Jesus that in the manner of His coming and saving us there is no reason for any of us to boast.
‘In the words of Noel Richard’s song, You laid aside your Majesty , Gave up everything for me, Suffered at the hands of those you had created. You took all my sin and shame when you died and rose again; now today you reign in heaven and earth exalted.
And in the words of another great Christian song writer Graham Kendrick… O what a mystery, Meekness and Majesty, Bow down and worship, for this is your God.
As we consider Jesus in this way and thank Him for the manner of His coming, we will find ourselves more easily taking on His mantle, and in the words of the prophet, ‘walking humbly with our God’. Micah 6:8.