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  • Writer's picturePastor Curtis A. May

Triumphant Entry

Article for Palm Sunday March 24, 2024

Zechariah 9:9 9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 

We call it the triumphal entry.  Our king who comes in, riding on a beast of burden.  For this king it fits as He came to take upon Himself the burden of receiving the punishment for all our sins.  And this king came for all and not just the rich or the righteous.  Actually, this king came more for the poor and unrighteous than any other.

The picture that is painted in our minds eye is one of a poor man’s parade.  An ordinary featureless man is setting on a beast of burden and the people are lining the path He travels.   Some lining the way with their garments but none with a red carpet.  Throwing down their cloaks or throwing down palm branches as if they had no cloak to throw to make a way for this a poor and unrighteous man’s king.

Such a strange setting when you try and visualize this statement of God, yet so rewarding when you contemplate the message that rides in our minds eye.  This, a king of ours who truly humbles Himself and does so in true empathy and knowledge of the pain of the congregation around Him. 

The grandeur of this picture unfolding was not in the eye of the royal but in the eye of the common.  The royal are, in this case, the self-righteous, the common are we who are covered by the righteousness of our true king Jesus Christ.  We watch this march of labor in awe and hope, for this is our King, this is our salvation.

Zechariah 9:10 10I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Oh, that theocracy still reigned.  Oh, that we feared God as we fear those who lord it over us.  What then will this world be in our eyes.  What then would our lives be.  We would be free as an undammed river, tall as an uncut forest among the mountains, and as wide as the seas touching one another sharing the water of life.

Instead, we have chained ourselves with uncaring shackles, and reclaimed the burden of our sin.  We have blinded our way to truth, and we have cut off our freedom to breathe.   We should breathe the spirit of the wind that blows in and out the salvation we no longer appear to want.  What has man done that is better than God, what lies does this world spin that mankind embraces? 

We no longer hear the melody of heaven.  We no longer dance to the tune of life.  For death has replaced calm with chaos, and the pit grows ever and ever massive waiting to swallow all who stop listening to the melody of salvation. But!

Zechariah 9:11 11As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 12Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.

Do you hear the whisper? Do you hear the singing?  Do you hear someone calling?  It is Jesus.  Jesus is calling on the melody of His angels to calm our storm and give us true peace.  Jesus’ triumphant entry is that He came to humble himself to His people and bring them out of their self-induced captivity. 

We, God’s people hold ourselves captive in our sin.  Though we may blame the world, our friends and family or even the church.  In the end who made the choices that put us in woe?  Who keeps making our choices if not ourselves? 

It is you who makes your choices and it is you who holds yourselves captive.  But it is not you who will save yourself.  It is Jesus Christ as He humbles Himself into your life and make the entry into your life triumphant.  For triumphant is our salvation.

Philippians 2:5–7 5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Jesus’ triumphant entry is to show us a king who loves His people.  Jesus loves us so much that He comes as one of us, humbled and burdened on the foal of a donkey.  His burden is our sinful nature, but His triumph is His salvation that He bought for us all.

To look at Jesus riding in on a donkey was not a triumphant sign to those who did not know Him, but to those who did it was very triumphant.  This was a painting of a commonplace man on an dull looking foal, neither having any outstanding features.  Save one!

No outstanding feature, but what should stand out is that this is the symbol of salvation for all the poor and the rich, the commoner and the scholar, the sick and the well, the crippled and the whole.  Because this was what we see in the one riding the beast of burden, a savior who comes in the form of a servant, one who comes to serve.

Philippians 2:8-9 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,

Jesus becomes our beast of burden, and He gives ride to the triumphant entry of the cross.  This time there were no cloaks thrown on the ground for Him to step on, no palm branches to make His way.  Instead, there were cries to crucify Him and tears from those who knew Him, even tears from His mother, His brothers, and His disciples.

Philippians 2:10–11 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The triumphant entry shows us the way in humbleness.  We praise, in humbleness we go to our knees, in humbleness we bow, in humbleness we give eternal thanks to the one who humbled Himself for us.  For in humbleness our savior came, in humbleness our savior died, and in triumphant entry our Savior rose from the dead, and in victory Jesus Christ conquered death and gives us eternal life in spite of our burdens.  Amen.

Written by Pastor Curtis A. May


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