Journey with Jesus Lent Devotional Week 6
Week 6 ┃ Sheila Sekela
“’See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey’” from Matthew 21:5
Do you remember the sweet Sunday School pictures of Jesus from your childhood? Next to the one of Him cradling a lamb, my favorite was the one of Jesus on the little donkey on Palm Sunday. The cloaks and palm branches on the road, the cheering crowd, that adorable donkey… I just loved that picture.
I think I loved that picture because Jesus and the people looked so happy and that donkey was just so cute; I didn’t understand the significance then. These days I love that picture because I have learned just how symbolic that “triumphal entry” was.
You see, there were two ways for a king to enter a city in those days. He could come as a conqueror, on a war horse with robe and chariots and weapons. Or he could come in peace, riding humbly on a donkey. Jesus was indeed finally publicly proclaiming Himself king, but His rule would be one of gentleness, peace, and humility.
The people of that day welcomed Him with fanfare and praise, but when He didn’t lead a revolt to free them from Roman oppression, they turned on Him just a few days later. They would have preferred the war horse to the donkey, but I am so grateful for the fact that ours is a gentle King who had a far greater plan than mere escape from an earthly conqueror.
You see, Jesus’ kingdom is a spiritual one that He won not through force, but through sacrificing His life. He “took the very nature of a servant” in dying for us, and so His Father gave Him the “name that is above every name,” (Phil 2:7-9) elevating Him to eternal Lordship. His is a Kingdom of love, grace, and mercy.
Yet, we read in the Bible that Jesus will return to this earth once more, and next time He will be on a great white steed. He will come as conqueror then, and “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Phil 2:11) Between His first triumphal entry and the one to come, stood the cross.
Jesus, thank you for your sacrificial love. Thank you for conquering sin and death on that cross, because of your unfathomably great compassion. Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! Amen.