As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. . . . They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:29-40
Today is Palm Sunday, celebrating the day almost 2,000 years ago on which Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem. For three years He had been preaching that the Kingdom of God was at hand. The crowd joyously greeted “the king who came in the name of the Lord.”
So, what was the significance of riding on the colt? Matthew 21:4-5 clearly states that this colt was the male offspring of a donkey, not a horse: “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “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.’ “ That doesn’t seem very dignified to us! But this animal had special meaning to the nation of Israel. In 1 Kings 1:38, Solomon rode to his coronation on the back of a mule. Horses were used for military purposes. For peaceful civil processions, they used donkeys or mules. So on Palm Sunday Jesus came not as a conqueror, but as the Promised Messiah, the Prince of Peace.
But not all celebrated this event. The Pharisees rejected Jesus. Only a few days later, the leaders of Israel called Him blasphemer and condemned Him to be crucified. The fickle crowd now cried “crucify him!” The Kingdom of God would be delayed.
Of course, that wasn’t the end of the story. We know that Jesus died, but rose again and, over the next several weeks, was seen on many occasions, by more than 500 people. His followers had many questions:
“So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11
Jesus promised to return. We don’t know the exact time, but we can know the season. He described the dismal state of affairs that would foreshadow the event, comparing it to the sinful days of Noah, and Sodom and Gomorrah. Luke 17:21-31; 21:24-34. Looking around the world today, His second coming may be happening soon.
Also, the proclamation of His message of Good News to the ends of the earth is in sight. We can travel around the world in a short time, and the internet and technology gives access to the peoples in even the remotest corners. The JESUS film alone has been translated into over 1,200 languages and shown in every nation.
What happens when Jesus returns? This time He won’t be riding on a donkey.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Rev 19:11-17
This description pictures a victorious warrior mounted on his battle horse. This time Jesus comes, not as the Prince of Peace, but as the Conquering King. And this time the crowd will not have the choice to reject Him
It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” Romans 14:11
How will you choose? When will you acknowledge Him as God and King? Now or later?
Like it or not, here He comes!