9 When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus also to death, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
12 The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written,
15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on an ass’s colt!”
16 His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after him.”
Remember 'Skins' fans: our hope is an eternal one. (Hopefully it won't take forever to feel real good about the team.) Actually, now that I think about it, being a 'Skins' fan does train us well to wait with something like everlasting hope. The alternative is the pit of despair and many of us have been there as well. That's good training, too, being in the pit of despair; momentarily pulled out of despair, only to find ourselves right back in the slimy pit, a little deeper. Only then, only then we might turn to something much better ... like crotcheting.
Really, our hope and joy are found on Someone much more dependable, who'll never forsake us or fail us. (Lord, thank you for reminding us that earthly joys are fleeting.)
Where were we?
Yes, here we are.
The raising of Lazarus is a prophetic foreshadowing of a greater event. That greater event is of course the Resurrection of Jesus. But prior to Christ's death and resurrection, Christ enters Jerusalem as a king. The "triumphal entry" points to Jesus' kingship but already there are some ominous signs. The crowd shouts, "Hosanna!" from Psalm 118:25-26. For Israel, this king can only be the King of Israel, the Messiah, the Deliverer of the Nation.
Had Jesus entered Jerusalem on a war horse as a conquering king ready to make war, an insurrection would have surely ensued. Rather, Jesus arrives riding on a young donkey, as a symbol of a king coming in peace, fulfilling Zechariah 9:9:
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
And that's who Jesus is -- the Prince of Peace. The King who brings YHWH's Shalom. Later, Jesus will come riding on a war horse, to defeat all the enemies of God. For now, he comes to bring us peace -- peace with God and peace with others.
Let's pray: Lord Jesus, we thank you for the truth of Romans 5:1, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." We thank you that the peace, the shalom, of God is for us: peace with God himself and peace with others. That we can live out the peace of Romans 12:18, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." We thank you that this peace is much more than a life without strife and conflict, but a life of well being and richness and joy. So despite all those challenges that might try to take away our peace, we ask you for the abiding peace that comes as we come before you and worship you as the Prince of Peace, the Messiah, the King of the Nations. In your name, amen.