Palm Sunday Pt. II – Symbolism and Stirring Emotions

There were a few key symbols that I pointed out in yesterdays Palm Sunday post, that I wanted to discuss in more detail.  The first was the choice to ride into town on a donkey colt, one that had never been sat upon.  To me, this means that the young donkey hadn’t even been broken in.  I think this points to the majesty of Jesus and shows His power and command over the animal.  I started thinking, what was the significance of it never being ridden, as we read in Mark 11:2, “…on which no one has sat.” The reason for this is that it has been set aside, or consecrated, for the specific purpose of transporting Jesus into the city of Jerusalem.  As we read in Numbers 19:2 Moses and Aaron were commanded by God to instruct the Israelites to bring them a heifer without blemish, one on which a yoke has never been placed.  The same principle applies here; the donkey hadn’t been “blemished” with a bridal and bit. 

So why was the donkey the chosen transportation?  Why not a horse and an entrance full of the grandeur fit for a King?  We’ve pointed out that the implication was to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, but why was a donkey referenced in the Old Testament?    Here’s where I think we need to understand a few things about Jesus’ time here on earth.  The people of Israel were looking for a king to deliver them from their oppression of the Romans.  The Old Testament had foretold of the Great King that would deliver the Israelites.  When Jesus was born, even Herod felt threatened by news of His birth and eventually ordered all of the children under the age of two to be put to death.  What the people misunderstood was that their King, was actually their Messiah, who came not to deliver them from their Roman oppression, but from the oppression and condemnation of sin.  The prophecy of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey was to signify that He was not coming as a warrior to lead a revolution, but as a Savior to lead in redemption.  The amazing parallel is to look at this first entrance into Jerusalem with Christ’s second coming, where He will be on a white war-horse (Revelation 19:11-16).  The first coming was with peace and humbleness on a donkey, the second coming is with the armies of heaven to judge and make war, quite the contrast of the King of Kings.      

The third and final point that I wanted to make was one that I had thought about yesterday, but omitted, because it stirred me emotionally and I thought it deserved specific attention.  When we read of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, it’s filled with beautiful imagery and symbolism of a King.  To read of the people singing praises as they laid down their clothes in submission and palm branches of triumph and victory, truly is a stirring scene and I wanted to paint that picture, as though all who read of it were there experiencing this with them.  But the truth is we know what this entrance is leading to.  Yes it is filled with the hope that Jesus brings us with His death on the cross and yes our sins would be buried with Him and we would be raised in newness of life with His resurrection.  But I can’t help but feel the sadness and emotions that Jesus was experiencing during this procession into the city.  To know that the sins of the world would soon be on Him.  To know that His heavenly Father would soon turn His back on Him, unable to look at the sin, as Jesus would cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 To know that my sins would help hammer the nails into His hands and feet…. 

We get a glimpse of the emotional pain Jesus was experiencing as He overlooked Jerusalem and began to weep saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:42-44 He wept for His people, knowing that if they had not rejected Him, how much easier it would be for them.

I think more than anything this triumphal entry signifies that soon our sins would be redeemed, that Jesus would triumph over those sins, triumph over the cross, and triumph over death.  How glorious His entrance must have been to the people that didn’t understand what was about to happen, but how heartbreaking must it be to those of us that know what was about to happen and that we were the cause.  But for this we’ve been given hope.  Hope in the bloodshed on the cross, that if we believe that Christ died for our sins, those same sins that helped nail him to the cross, and we repent of those sins, He will be faithful and just to forgive those sins; and that if in our belief of Christ’s death, we believe too that He rose again and we ask that he washes away our sins with His redeeming blood to cleanse us from all unrighteousness; and we receive Him into our hearts as Lord and Savior of our lives, then our hope is in Him; and how infinitely more glorious will His coming for the Church be.

If you’re ready to be forgiven of your sins that nailed Jesus to the cross and you believe that He died for those sins, just as I describe above, won’t you pray now and repent of those sins and ask Jesus to come into your life.  Your prayer might go something like this:

Dear Lord, I’m a sinner.  I recognize that as a sinner I’m not worthy of your mercy and grace.  But I believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross for my sins and I believe that He rose again.  I repent of those sins and I ask now Lord for Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me of my sins and I accept him as my Lord and Savior.

In Jesus name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, I pray that the Holy Spirit seals that decision in your heart and sets your feet firmly on the path of continued growth in Christ.

Christians if you know of someone that has yet to make that decision and you’re struggling with ways to bring it up or talk to them about it, maybe something as easy as forwarding them a web address might help.  Because I believe in Isaiah 55:11, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  I know God can work through my sometimes clumsy prose and use it for His glory and maybe, just maybe, lead 1 to Christ.

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