Summary: What Makes Jesus a Great King? 1) Ability; 2) Humility; 3) Popularity
When Pierre Trudeau passed away not too long ago I could hardly keep up with all the articles about the man and his career. I suppose that kind of coverage is only natural for a former Prime Minister of sixteen years. The articles I enjoyed reading the most were the ones debating whether or not Mr. Trudeau was a good leader. There is no doubt that he left his mark on Canada but people can’t seem to agree if it’s a blotch or a brooch. For example did his promotion of official bilingualism draw the country together or drive it apart? Did his Wages and Price Controls of ’75 help the economy or make it worse? Did his sponsorship of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms assure freedom for citizens or free government from accountability?
I’m not about to wade into the debate on Trudeau’s legacy but I am willing to tell you what makes for a great leader: ability, humility, and popularity. Did Pierre Trudeau demonstrate those qualities? It depends to whom you talk I suppose. I do know of one leader that definitely has those qualities. An honest look at the events of Palm Sunday will show that Jesus has the qualities of a great king - a king worth following.
The first thing to look for in a great king is the ability to lead. For that you need two things: smarts, and power. Our text proves that Jesus had both. Jesus showed just how smart he was when he sent two of his disciples ahead to the next town to fetch a donkey. Jesus did not simply ask his disciples to find something, anything, for him on which to ride into Jerusalem. He told the disciples exactly what to bring back, where they would find it, and what they should say when the owner asked them where they were going with his donkey. When the two disciples arrived in town they found everything just as Jesus had described. And just as Jesus had promised the owner allowed them to take the donkey.
The fact that Jesus knew all these details demonstrates his omniscience – his divine ability to know all things. Of course sceptics try to find other explanations as to how Jesus knew that a donkey would be available to him in the next town. They claim that Jesus had made arrangements with the owners beforehand. If that’s the case why did the owners sound alarmed when the disciples started marching off with their donkey? Others say that Jesus had ridden on this donkey before and knew that it would be available to him again. Yet that’s not a plausible explanation either because the gospel writers are careful to point out that the donkey had never before been ridden.
Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus knows all things? If he knew that a donkey was waiting for him in the next town, he certainly knows what’s down the road for you. Therefore there is no need to worry about what tomorrow will bring because Jesus is already there. We can also trust that following his commands won’t send us on a wild goose chase. Just as the disciples found the donkey as Jesus said they would, we can trust that when Jesus directs us to put our trust and faith in him for our eternal salvation and for our temporal good he will not let us down.