Jesus knows the end is near. Soon He will fulfill His role as the “Lamb of God” and sacrifice His life for all. But before He does, something interesting happens. In Matthew 21:1-11 He tells his disciples to get a certain donkey with its colt, and then He rides that donkey into Jerusalem. The crowd is beside themselves as people spread their garments on the road before Him. “Hosanna,” they shout. “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.”
What was going on? Verse 5 tells us that this was in fulfillment of a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, “Say to the Daughter of Zion Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” So this was Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem acknowledging Himself as King and being acknowledged by the crowd as king for that was what they meant by calling Him “son of David.”
But it wasn’t the first time Jesus had been acknowledged as King. It happen when the Magi followed the star to Bethlehem in order to kneel before Jesus and lay their gifts at His feet. The Magi were considered “kingmakers” and in the Medo-Persian Empire no one became a king unless the Magi elected and crowned him. It was here in Bethlehem that Jesus was elected King, even though no such election was necessary for God, But it was a sign to us. And soon, after this entry into Jerusalem, Jesus would be crowned King—with a crown make of thorns.
It wasn’t unusual for a king to ride a donkey, either. Solomon did it in 1Kings 1:33 when he rode a mule to Gihon to be anointed by the prophet, Nathan, as king over Israel. It was a sign of humility but also a sign of peace. Kings rode donkeys when coming in peace and they rode war horses when going into battle.
So here we see a picture of Jesus, the King of Kings, entering Jerusalem in peace; humble and meek and ready to die for each of us. What a picture of the heart and character of God! But there’s another side of Jesus’ Kingship. When He returns He’ll not be riding a donkey. Revelation 19:11-16 tells us that He will be riding a white horse, with His vestures dipped in blood, “and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORD.” He will not be a King of Peace, but a King coming to do battle with the unsaved of the world. What a contrast to King Jesus in Matthew!
Oh what a cautionary tale this is for us. Let us submit ourselves to our meek, gentle King for if we don’t, we will eventually be forced to submit to the King whose vesture is dipped in blood.
Until next time,