Spring has sprung, and the warmer temperatures are coming. From many that draws a great “Hallelujah!” That means that there is going to be more time spent outside, and, of course, it means more dreaded yard work. But all is not lost. It is during this time of year that the Church has opportunity to remind itself of the new life they have in Christ Jesus.
Of course, that reminder comes at the time the Church celebrates Easter, more accurately known as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This celebration is a joyous one. It brings to fruition all the promises of our Lord. Jesus said He was going to die and then rise on the third day. And He did — Jesus lives! He purposely went to the Cross, His instrument of death, in order that we might live. To many that seems odd. Why would Jesus, being truly God and truly man, have to die in order for us to live?
This truth has confused many throughout history. The Jews interpreted Scripture to say that the Messiah would come as a conqueror. They thought He would overthrow Roman oppression. He would be an earthly king, and then everything would be alright. They clearly didn’t understand the many Old Testament prophecies that Jesus must first come as a suffering servant and die; then He will come back in the future to establish an eternal kingdom at His second coming. They missed the mark.
Beloved, Jesus isn’t cryptic. Sure, He spoke in parables for those who were blind to His truth, but He was often straightforward with what He did and what He said. Even for the disciples, it wasn’t until after the completion of His death, resurrection and ascension that all that Jesus had said He was going to do started to make sense.
For instance, as we gather in Church this Sunday, we know that this is the Sunday that starts the commemoration of Passion Week, which included Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus came riding on a donkey’s colt (John 12:14–15). What was so significant about riding on a donkey’s colt? For one thing, it fulfilled the words of Zechariah 9:9, in which the prophet Zechariah had said that is how the Messiah would come: ”He is just, having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, upon the colt, the foal of an ass.” This was an exact and specific prophecy given about 600 years before it happened. History tells us that when a king rides a donkey, it means peace, and when a king rides a horse — particularly a white horse — it’s for conquering, it’s for triumph, it’s for war. No Roman soldier in the garrison at Jerusalem who saw the Lord riding on the colt, the foal of an ass, would report that He looked like a threat.
What a great truth. Jesus came to give peace; the way He did that was by giving His life for you. He died for us. We desperately need reconciliation to our great God, and Jesus is the only One through Whom we may obtain it. There is nothing we can do but submit to Him through repentance and faith. The consequence of rejecting Jesus as your only Savior is damnation.
There will be a time when He does come riding on a white horse (see Revelation 19:11), and He will be a threat. But He came the first time not to bring war but to bring peace; not to kill but to be killed. He came to give Himself as the atonement for our sins. Matthew 20:28 proclaims, “. . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The very fact that He rode on the foal of a donkey during the Triumphal Entry, rather than on a white horse, was a way for Jesus to demonstrate that He was a king, but not the kind the Jews had expected. They were looking for a military conqueror. They were looking for a rider on a white horse who would come in and overthrow Rome, someone to lead a coup. They wanted a full-scale rebellion. They wanted war against Rome on a supernatural level — the same level they had seen demonstrated by the miracles of Jesus. But Jesus, even in the way He rode, came to make it clear that He was not bringing war but peace. He was not coming as a killer, but He was coming to be killed.
Oh, may you see the beauty of our Redeemer. Jesus came to bring peace between you and your Creator, between you and your God.
May you come to Him, believe in Him, knowing that He is your only redemption. May you find yourself doing that this day. May Jesus Christ alone be your resurrection and your life.