The events described here are traditionally referred to as the “Triumphal Entry,” and I can understand why. This is the first and last time that Jesus got anywhere close to the accolades and public adoration on earth that he deserved. But at the same time, we need to remember that our Lord wasn’t feeling so very triumphant himself: He was wiping away tears as he neared Jerusalem, knowing what would happen to him in a few days, and what would happen to the city in a few years.
What was happening had been predicted by the prophet Zechariah over 400 years ago. When a king approached a city on a donkey, it was a sign that he was coming in peace, just visiting his subjects to inspect part of his kingdom or get an accounting from officials under his authority. However, when a king approached a city on a white horse, this meant that he was coming as a conqueror, destroying his enemies. The first time he came will be very different from how he'll come a second time.
“The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.” What a concept! I don’t know about you, but I wish this verse applied to me all the time. If it did, life would be a whole lot better.
The final lesson I get from this is the fickleness of human praise and adulation. I think it’s both sad and ironic how aging movie stars desperately try to make one last movie so that their star of fame will burn just a little bit longer. They’re frantic that the crowds that once flocked to see them and begged for their autographs are now finding someone younger and prettier. Politicians who once had major political power eventually retire and the calls for news interviews eventually dry up.
That’s the way of the world, and it’s never been better illustrated than right here. None of these people in this adoring crowd stood up for or with Jesus less than a week later. Why in the world should we care about the praise and applause from people? Much better to seek and get the praise of the One who’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s never abandoned his friends, and he never will. He sees us and knows us, and if he says that we’re doing a good job, that means a whole more to me than any applause this world will ever give me. How about you?
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for seeking the applause of people. The only applause I should seek is from nail-scarred hands. Please make me into the type of man whom you praise.
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