SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2011
THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY
Today is Palm Sunday. Expectedly on this day Jesus had His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Looking at this event William Barclay calls it: ‘The beginning of the Last Act of the Drama’. To show its importance in the life and ministry of Jesus, all the gospel writers recorded it: Mtt. 21v1-11, Mk. 11v1-11, Luke 19v28-44 and John 12v12-19.
Jesus had come as the Saviour of the world and not as a political agitator. Had he been found to use a Horse at such a crucial occasion that would have been understood that this man came for war. But no! His reign was to give people time to accept or reject Him. He sat on a donkey, a colt. Zech. 9v9 says: ‘say to the daughter of Zion, see, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey’. The crowd that came out shouted: ‘…blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord Hosanna in the highest’. Mtt. 21v9.
This triumphal entry eventually will lead to the cross. Yet, Jesus was determined to save humanity. William Barclay incontrovertibly posits three things about Jesus anointed of God.
First he says, Jesus’ entry showed him as a man of courage. Jesus knew full well that he was entering a hostile city. However, enthusiastic the crowd might be the authorities hated him and had sworn to eliminate him; and with them lay the Last word. Almost any man in such a case would have considered discretion the better part of valour; and, if he had come to Jerusalem at all, would have slipped in under cover of night and kept prudently to the back streets until he reached his shelter. But Jesus entered Jerusalem in a way that deliberately set himself in the centre of the stage and deliberately diverted every eye upon himself. It was a deliberate challenge to the authorities to do their worst.
Secondly, it showed His claim. Certainly, it shows us his claim to be God’s Messiah. God’s anointed one, very probable it shows his claim to be the cleanser of the temple. If Jesus had been content to claim to be a prophet, the probability is that he need never have died. With Jesus it is all or nothing. Men must acknowledge him as a king, or not receive him at all.
Thirdly, it showed us his appeal. It was not the kingship of the throne which he claimed; it was the kingship of the heart. He came humbly and riding upon an ass. We must be careful to see the real meaning of that. In Western lands the ass is a despised beast; but in the east the ass could be a noble animal. Often a king came riding upon an ass, but when he did, it was the sign that he came in peace. The horse was the mount of war; the ass was the mount of peace. So when Jesus claimed to be king, he claimed to be the king of peace. He showed that he came, not to destroy, but to love; not to condemn, but to help; not in the might of arms, but in the strength of love.
And so, we see the courage of Jesus, his claim and his last appeal. Surely this could be a last invitation to men to open, not their palaces, but their hearts to him.
As Jesus enters Jerusalem today, we need to accompany Him. He needs to rule in our hearts if we let Him in. Certainly He will not gate crash for the scripture says of Him: ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me’ Rev. 3v20’.
I think no time is better than now, for men and women of goodwill to say to Him, come and reign. Give us your peace that has eluded nations of the world. We are tired of war, violence, human and material carnage across the globe. Saviour of the world come and take your rightful place. All the Christian faithful do urge you earnestly, RIDE ON KING JESUS, let no man hinder thee.
VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre,