- Joe Steenholdt
Matthew 21:1-11 - The King Has Come
Many want Jesus to fit their own agenda, but we can be glad He came as a King with eternal purposes.
Read / Listen
Read Matthew 21:1-11
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.”
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 31
Q. Why is he called “Christ,”
A. Because he has been ordained by God the Father
and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit
our chief prophet and teacher
who perfectly reveals to us
the secret counsel and will of God for our deliverance;
our only high priest
who has set us free by the one sacrifice of his body,
and who continually pleads our cause with the Father;
and our eternal king
who governs us by his Word and Spirit,
and who guards us and keeps us
in the freedom he has won for us.
In ten days, you may hear this passage read or see children waving palm branches to commemorate “Palm Sunday.” The entry into Jerusalem on a donkey at the beginning of the week that would lead Jesus to the cross was another significant event showing how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament Scripture as the expected Messiah-King.
The anticipation had reached a fever pitch in Jerusalem. It was abuzz with many traveling into town for the Passover, including many who had heard Jesus’s preaching and witnessed His miracles. Jesus’ earthly ministry was primarily spent in Galilee and outside of Jerusalem. Yet, Jerusalem was always where Jesus was heading in the end.
In Matthew’s account, we can see how Jesus is aware of all that will occur. He knows where the disciples can fetch a proper donkey for His royal entrance. The crowd recognized the connection to what the prophet Zechariah said, and how David had also sent his son Solomon riding in on a donkey at the beginning of his reign (1 Kings 1:33).
Jesus, the Christ of the tribe of Judah and line of David, was riding into Jerusalem as her prince of peace. He was being recognized as such through the reception and shouting of “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” However, many missed what Jesus had come to Jerusalem to do and what this visitation of the Lord meant.
Jesus failed to meet the expectations of most of His own Jewish people in His days on earth. Most of the religious leaders fiercely opposed Him and charged Him with blasphemy. Many everyday folks were weary of the years under foreign rule and longed for Israel to be a powerful and united kingdom of God’s special people as in the days of David and Solomon, and were allured by the authority of His message and power of His miracles.
Those who recognized that He might be the long-awaited Messiah still missed the greater purpose of His coming. Jesus knew that before He was to be exalted as King of Glory, He must first lay down His life as the Suffering Servant. His kingdom was not earthly nor temporary but of another world and one that will never end.
The catechism gets at this eternal aspect of Christ’s reign as our King. He reigns through the governing power of His Word and Spirit, and He rules and protects those He saved from His throne of grace.
It could have been easy for anyone else to get caught up in the excitement of that day and try to ride that wave of popularity. But thanks be to God, Jesus had eternal salvation in His sights. The King had come to Jerusalem to suffer, die, be buried, and rise again, securing freedom for His people forever.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The King of Glory and the Lord Who Saves
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Galatians 2