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Thursday, September 30, 2010

10/1/10- Matthew 21:1-11; Zechariah 9:9

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 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. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."  4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 "Say to Daughter Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.' " 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 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!" 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?" 11 The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."

9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation,
lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zech. 9:9)

(James Tissot "Throught the Streets of Jerusalem"- on Palm Sunday)

Thoughts: All the gospel writers speak of Jesus' coming to Jerusalem in a parade-like atmosphere.  Matthew alone speaks of both the donkey and the colt of the donkey being prepared for Christ to ride on them in exact accordance with Zechariah 9:9.  A donkey is a humble animal.  Though Israelite kings and judges had ridden on donkeys in the past, it is clearly a symbol that the king comes in peace, not war.  A donkey is slow and unmajestic.  Jesus did not enter into Jerusalem on a white horse (Rev. 6:2 and Zech. 6:6) bent on conquering.  He came as the Prince of Peace into his own dominion. 
     Yet, he came to his own and his own received him not (Jn. 1:11).  In rejecting their Prince of Peace, they literally rejected God's protection and peace.  Within a generation of his death the nation, Jerusalem, and the temple were obliterated (70 A.D. as Jesus had predicted).  In rejecting God, we reject our source of peace, protection, and strength.  Blasphemy- an open and verbal rejection of God (a la Bill Maher), is a terrible thing.  While freedom to speak is important, kindness toward those we disagree with is also important.  The Pharisees tried to squelch the praise of the people.  They accused Jesus of blaspheming the high priest, but they killed the One who offered them peace- the ultimate blasphemy.  Our task is to be able to recognize God when He comes to us.

Prayer: God, give me eyes to see you and a heart to believe and trust in you.

John Calvin abridged: Jesus sought a donkey not because he was weary but to show the nature of his kingdom.  He had been refraining others from calling him king, but now he welcome it at the end. The donkey was borrowed.  There was no saddle on it- they had to throw their cloaks on it.  The crowd praised him, but this crowd was the poorest of the poor.  Jesus had to show himself king, but did not want to use only earthly riches to do this.

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