Sunday, March 20, 2016

Jesus' Triumphant Entry (the Spirit of Palm Sunday): Either You Praises or Curses Him

Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me’… The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
(Matthew 21:1-2, 6-9,

Jesus knew how to get a party started. On that day there were thousands of Jews journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate their annual Passover festival. Jesus chose that crowded day to enter the city on a donkey. What may seem like an ordinary ride to some people (for an Iban like me, this event is meaningless) was actually a significant fulfilment of a prophecy by the Old Testament prophet, Zechariah, that the Promised One, the Jewish Messiah, would ride into Jerusalem on the back of a young male donkey (read Zechariah 9:9 and Matthew 21:5).

Lining Jesus’ path with clothing and branches was a sign of paying homage to the One they now proclaimed as their God-sent King. Like screaming fans watching a celebrity walk to the red carpet, the Jewish people shouted with joy over Jesus’ arrival. Many considered Him their long-awaited Deliverer who would rebuild Jerusalem and restore the line of King David. They hailed Him as “the Son of David” which He was through the linage of both Joseph and Mary.

But Jesus’ glory ride would soon end (for the people) in tragedy. The crowds would change their praises of him “Hosanna!” to curses “Crucify him!” (Matthew 27:22-23). Why such dramatic changed from “Hosanna” to “Crucify him”? Because the crowds had the wrong expectations of Him. You see, Jesus on His first coming didn’t come to earth for people’s honour, recognition, privilege or title. He said His mission on the previous chapter: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

This Palm Sunday please be remember that: ‘the triumphant entry’ story is about the King who came as a lowly servant on a donkey, not in royal robes; but on the clothes of the poor and humble. Jesus comes not to conquer by force as earthly kings; but by love, grace, mercy, and His own sacrifice for His people. His is not a kingdom of armies and splendour; but of lowliness and servanthood. He conquers not nations; but hearts and minds. If Jesus has made a triumphal entry into our hearts, He reigns there in peace and love. As Jesus followers, we must exhibit those same qualities – the spirit of Palm Sunday – love, grace, mercy, servanthood and peace. Let the world sees the true King living and reigning in triumph in us. Amen.

If you display love, grace, mercy, servanthood and peace in your lives, you praises Him;
If you display the otherwise, you curses Him

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