Summary: What can we learn from the "Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem" for today?
“On a donkey, you must be kidding!” Matthew 21:1-11
There was a curate who used to preach on his pet subject "Love" every Sunday, until one day the Churchwarden collared him.
“ Curate” the churchwarden said “You preached a good sermon today but can’t you give us something new.”
So the curate agreed to preach the following Sunday on the book of Revelation.
The following Sunday he got up into the pulpit and started on Revelation but was soon lapsed back to his favourite topic of "Love".
The Churchwarden in desperation picked up a copy of the Book of Common Prayer and hurled it at the pulpit.
Unfortunately his throw was not strong enough and he hits a young lady in the front row on the back of the head.
As she went down, she was heard to say: "Hit me again, I can still hear him."
With that in mind, I decided to ask Philip what I should preach on this Sunday and he said: “Follow the lectionary”.
So I looked up the Gosepl reading and sure enough it was Mt. 21:1-11.
As I read the passage through, I thought it could only happen in church. Jesus rides into Jerusalem ON A DONKEY and they call it a “Triumphal Procession”
On a donkey – you must be kidding!!
Story: I read recently of the story of a modern-day “triumphal entry”. The splendour of it was mind-blowing. Let me read you what the article said.
“On 4th December 1977, the world witnessed the coronation of his Imperial Majesty, Bokassa I, in Bangui, capital of the Central African Empire.
The price tag for that single event was phenomenal - $25 million. And remember that was 25 years ago.
At 10:10 a.m., the blast of trumpets and the roll of drums announced the approach of His Majesty.
The procession began with eight of Bokassa’s twenty-nine official children. They processed down the royal carpet to their seats.
They were followed by the heir to the throne, Jean Bedel Bokassa II - dressed in a white admiral’s uniform with gold braid. He was seated on a red pillow to the left of the throne.
Catherine, the favourite of Bokassa’s nine wives, followed. She was wearing a $73,000 gown, strewn with pearls.
Then the emperor arrived in an imperial coach bedecked with golden eagles and drawn by six matched Anglo-Norman horses.
And as the Marine Band struck up the hymn "The Sacred March of His Majesty,” Emperor Bokassa strode forth. He was cloaked in a thirty-two pound robe decorated with 785,000 strewn pearls and gold embroidery.
He wore white gloves and pearl slippers on his feet. On his head, he wore a gold crown of laurel-wreaths, similar to those worn by Roman consuls of old. A symbol of the favour of the gods.
As the "Sacred March" came to an end, Bokassa seated himself on his $2.5 million eagle throne.
He took his gold laurel wreath off. And – like Napoleon 173 years earlier – he placed the $2.5 million crown - topped with an 80-carat diamond on his own head.”
Here was a new emperor, a new king. Now isn’t that the way a triumphant king should enter his capital?
Well Jesus didn’t seem to think so!
Conventional wisdom dictated that he should have entered Jerusalem on a white charger – Bokassa style.
In contrast, Jesus entered Jerusalem - seated on a donkey in a procession that has been known down the centuries as the “Triumphal entry into Jerusalem”.
Why did Jesus enter Jerusalem triumphantly – on a donkey???
What was God trying to say or was it simply chance that all Jesus could find was a donkey??
Matthew tells us that the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem ON A DONKEY was no mere chance.
It wasn’t bad luck that there was no white charger about- so Jesus had made do with second best!!
No, this had all been prophesied 500 years earlier - in the OT in the book of Zechariah. in a prophecy. Let me read it to you:
"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zec.9: 9).
It was an important part of God’s plan.
So, if it was an important enough part of God’s plan for God to reveal it prophetically 500 years earlier, I asked myself - Why?
Why did Jesus enter Jerusalem triumphantly – on a donkey? Seems a bit of a paradox doesn’t it? What is God trying to tell us?
I think that we can find an answer to this conundrum by considering the tensions in Jerusalem at that time.
What do you think it have felt like to be a Jew in first Century Palestine?