For seekers after peace, this is a really important story. For those who want an end to inner turmoil and unrest, this event spells hope.
Jesus’ contemporaries longed for solutions to their daily struggles, subjugated as they were to Roman domination, and many hoped for a Messiah who would lead them to victory against their overlords. However when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, He was making a clear declaration that He had a different purpose in mind.
In biblical times, when a king rode into a community on a donkey, it meant he was coming in peace, not war. So here was Jesus (whose name means ‘God saves’), the Prince of Peace, riding into Jerusalem which means ‘city of peace’, on a donkey, the symbol of peace!
The words of Zechariah’s prophecy would have been ringing in the ears of the discerning:
See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
And it wasn’t just about dealing with conflict, the Greek & Hebrew words for peace also contain the meaning of completeness, safety, contentment, wholeness, prosperity, health & wellbeing. The Lord was coming to His people offering salvation in its widest sense.
What a tragedy that so many missed the point, and didn't recognise that the longed-for answer to their problems, was actually riding through their gates. And that others gave Him lip-service, but didn't actually avail themselves of what He was carrying.
His words to Jerusalem, strike at our hearts too, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” [Matthew 23:37]. The challenge to us is that Jesus, the same yesterday, today & forever, still comes to us offering peace in its fullness. Let’s be people who respond, and press in to receive from Him all that He died to give us, people who avail ourselves of the riches purchased on the Cross.
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