Triumphal entries were nothing new. People would have been used to seeing war heroes riding back into Rome and being celebrated for their success, for their killing off the enemy. They were a big deal. However, in Matthew 21, we see a very different type of triumphal entry. There wasn’t all the pomp and circumstance. There wasn’t all of the fanfare of horse drawn chariots. It wasn’t even into Rome. Instead, we see Jesus riding on the back of a young donkey, into Jerusalem. This was different indeed.
The reality of the situation was not lost on Jesus, even as people laid their cloaks in the road shouting Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Jesus was King, but not in the way people expected. Many probably thought this was the start to overtaking Rome and freeing the Jewish people from their rule. However, Jesus knew the reality of what was to happen over the next few days. He would be betrayed, forgotten, abandoned, beaten, and ultimately crucified. Yet he still rode in on that donkey. He could have gone the other way, he could have called legions of angels to save him, but he chose to follow the will of his father. This path would provide more for people than they could even comprehend in those moments. Jesus was laying his life down for them, and for all people who would come after including you and I. He was providing the ultimate sacrifice for the human race to provide atonement for our sin and a way of reconciliation between us and the father. He knew the horrible death he would suffer and he did it anyway.
What better picture of love than this. During this Holy Week, take time to reflect on what those last few days of Jesus’s life were like. Let the Holy Spirit work in and through you in this week of reflection.
Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
O Christ, thy triumphs now begin
O’er captive death and conquered sin
~ Henry Hart Milman