If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” – Matt. 21:3 NIV
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Jesus Christ was on his way to Jerusalem, a destination where he had earlier informed the Disciples that;
- He will be handed over to the Chief Priests and the teachers of the law – Matt. 20:18a.
- He will be condemned to death – Matt. 20:18b.
Both events were sufficient enough to dissuade anyone from making such a journey but then, that is the reason why he came to the world. He had no choice but to fulfil destiny. He had arrived in Bethphage on the Mount of Olives with is entourage when he chose not to continue on foot with the journey into Jerusalem. Either under spiritual direction or personal desire, he decided on riding into the City of David, with the bible retrospectively revealing that his action was in fulfilment of the prophecy of Zechariah who had prophesied that their king will come gentle and riding on a donkey – Zech. 9:9.
In order to achieve his intention, he directed two of his disciples to enter the village ahead where they will instantly find a donkey and its colt tied. They were to untie both and bring them to him and should anyone ask why they were untying them both, they should respond saying that, “the Lord hath need for them”. Both disciples went as directed and met the situation just as he said. They responded just as they were told to do and returned with both the donkey and the colt – Matt. 21:6-7. The donkey was immediately decorated in a manner fitting for the use of a king with the disciples spreading their cloaks on it for him to ride on. The crowd following also spread their cloaks on the road for his donkey to ride on whilst others cut palm fronds waving it before him and shouting;
- Hossanah to the son of David – Matt. 21:9a.
- Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord – Matt. 21:9b.
- Hossanah to the highest – Matt. 21:9c.
There is no doubt that all the events starting from the point he asked the disciples to go for the donkey and the colt to the point where the people started singing after him carry so much significance to the Christian today. Beyond the physical manifestations is profound spiritual significance of the events. Some of the points of note are as listed below:
- The instruction to go and untie the specific donkey speaks volumes about the authority he exercises. The ownership of the donkey is irrelevant. All that is important is the need for it by Jesus Christ. Just as no one disputed with the disciples, so likewise Jesus expects us today not to dispute his call for us. He needs us to be able to establish his kingdom. Nothing should be too big for us to release to him in order to establish his reign. Several Christians are still holding back in terms of submitting to his call. Surrender to him in total today so that his reign in your life can start.
- Submission of cloaks by the disciples and some people in the crowd, in the name of decorating the donkey, cannot also go unnoticed. Just as the cloak is worn to conceal the main garment, the Christian who is coming to him must remove all coverings and lay them at his feet. Such must appear before him without pretense and reveal all that needs to be known. Attempting to hide anything from him is an act of insincerity in relation to the decision to accept him fully as Lord and Savior. Lay everything bare before him by removing all coverings so that he can see you and accept you for who your really are.
- The waving of the palm fronds was to demonstrate that the one that was being heralded was a victor of some sorts. With him riding on donkey, which was a means of transport for royalties in those times, they probably saw a victorious king in him and so heralded him as such.
- However, the confused nature of the crowd that was following Jesus was very obvious. In that short space of time, Jesus Christ was projected as three different personalities.
- They regarded him as a king even though they did not try to define his kingdom or assumed that he had conquered the roman empire and had arrived to take over his kingdom. No wonder they were waving palm fronds to signify victory ahead of him.
- By the time they started heralding him, they saw him as the son of David, who has come in the name of the Lord asking him to fulfil the mission of saving them, which is the meaning of the word “Hossanah”. That indicated their view of him as the one that will free them from the enslavement of the Roman empire, but then he had not fought any battle neither did they see any army with him to fight the battle ahead. That must have gotten some people in the crowd confused.
- So when eventually, some people in Jerusalem asked who he was, the response was very simple. He was just another prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.
The truth is that Jesus Christ is not any of what these people who have been following him consider him to be. That lack of conviction about his real personality probably accounted for their subsequent actions.
Most Christians are not too different from the crowd that were following Jesus Christ then. Lacking sufficient understanding of who he really is, they have expectations that will never be met and make demands that he will never grant.
Aware that this was a major issue with all the people that were following him, he had asked the disciples who the people considered him to be and also who the disciples themselves consider him to be. Peter’s response was the only one that was spot on as he said he was the Christ and the son of the living God – Matt. 16:13-20. He was not a king, neither was he just the Son of David nor was he just a prophet from Nazareth in Bethlehem. He was the Christ, the messiah of the Almighty God, to save the soul of mankind from destruction. Until he is seen as such, whoever is claiming to follow him is just part of the ignorant crowd. Just as he told Simon Peter that flesh and blood did not give that revelation to him but the Almighty God Himself – Matt. 16:17.
Avoid just following him and do all you can to know him. That is the only way that the relationship with him can have any meaning. May God grant us all the grace to know Jesus as the Christ and son of the Almighty God in Jesus name. Amen.