The Invitation - Day 8

Luke 19: 28-40

“After telling this story, Jesus went toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of his disciples. As he came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?”

And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on. 

As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. 

“Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!” 

But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!” 

He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”

We love underdog stories, don’t we? From David and Goliath to any sports team that has to face their giant who plays with domineering ferocity (think of the Yankees of the early 2000s or the Patriots with Tom Brady).

When Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, it seemed like an underdog situation. Why?

At the time, it was the Passover in Jerusalem.  Because of this holiday, scholars estimate as many as two million Jews a year would make the trek to their capital city.  When that many Jews showed up, the Roman Empire would ensure their presence was felt and that people knew who was in charge.

So, in an overcrowded city with substantial religious significance and tensions between the locals and the governing empire already on high alert, a humble rabbi from Nazareth marches into town on a donkey.

Why is this significant?

Until then, Jesus had tried to share his true identity only with an elect few like His disciples.  He knew what would happen if word got out too early; His time on earth would be cut short.  But now, on the Sunday of the Passion Week that leads up to the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus is ready to make a bold statement.

In these times, a donkey was the traditional mount for kings and rulers, so in one sense, Jesus was saying that He is most certainly the king of His people.  However, to do this during the Passover fulfilled prophecies about the coming Messiah.  So Jesus wasn’t just saying He was the King of the Jews, but that He was the Messiah His people had been waiting hundreds of years to arrive.

Enough people knew the signs that they began to rejoice and celebrate.  Palm Tree branches waving, coats on the ground, the donkey carrying Jesus would walk on; all were signs of reverence to the king.  And they didn’t just celebrate; they praised, “Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” Other translations say, “Hosanna!”

Yes, there was celebration, but among the religious rulers, there was anger, jealousy, and retribution.  They had been waiting for Jesus to claim to be the king publicly.  It would justify them to have him killed for being a false prophet and for inciting insurrection against Rome.  Jesus knew this would happen.  He knew riding into town on a donkey would seal his fate, but he did it anyway.  Why?  He may not have been the king the religious rulers wanted, but He was the king we all needed.

Consider for yourself and who you study with: what kinds of things do let sit on the throne of our hearts today?  What or who seems to rule over us?  Beyond politics, what types of things do we give our allegiance to that our actions tell us we care more about than most things (ex, technology, wealth, reputation, success, escapism, knowledge, etc…)?

Consider these questions:
  1. What would it take for us to surrender all those other things to make Jesus the King of our lives today?
  2. How would our lives be different if Jesus was King instead of the things we listed above?
  3. Do you think this idea of surrendering to Jesus as king is something we do once and then we’re done, or must it be done more often?  If more, how often?
  4. PRAYING TOGETHER - With the person you’re studying with, share one thing you know you need to let go of or surrender to Jesus, then pray for each other to have the strength to surrender to Jesus.

By Pastor Paddy McCoy

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Jacob - February 19th, 2024 at 10:55am

I have

Jacob - February 19th, 2024 at 10:57am

I have many things I need to let go of. Help me Jesus take hold of you as my king and let go of all the other things that I am letting control me.

I want to focus solely on you and accept you as my king