Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Donkey-Riding King, the Three Miracles, and His Imminent Return

Five hundred years before Jesus was born, Zechariah the prophet wrote these words:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
                                  Zechariah 9:9 nasb

Centuries passed, but no king rode into Jerusalem. 

Instead, the Romans invaded and took over. Built palaces. Had royal parties. Ruled with an iron fist. Those who remembered Zechariah's words must have looked with anticipation for a donkey-riding king. 

No king came. 

Some people had probably given up. No king was coming, or so they thought. 

One amazingly ordinary day, that unlikely prophecy was fulfilled. 

Mark 11 tells us that Jesus instructed His disciples to go into a nearby village and find a young colt that no one had ever ridden. They were to tell the owner that the Lord had need of it, and the owner would say, "Sure. Take my little donkey."

My son, Ryan, and I adopted two wild mustangs years ago  They'd never been ridden, either. We had a plethora of experiences. Most of them were pretty spirited.

Putting a coat on the back of a never-ridden, not-yet-quite-tame donkey can be an adventure. Climbing on is often a dramatic bucking experience, at least for the first few minutes. 

In the donkey's defense, the owner had already begun to gentle it, because it was tied to a post and the donkey hadn't torn the post down. 

Still, for fishermen who have never handled donkeys before to walk up to a strange colt, lead it away, throw one of their coats over it's back like a saddle blanket, and hoist Jesus on without a moment's difficulty is nothing short of miraculous.

That the donkey actually walked where Jesus wanted it to go is another kind of miracle.

There's also the issue of the donkey-gentling owner. If a stranger came up to me and said, "Hey, God needs your donkey. I'm taking it," my first answer would not be, "Sure. Go ahead." 

It took three kinds of miracles to get our King mounted on a donkey and riding into Jerusalem, but it happened.

Jesus, on that young donkey, rode down the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley, and up Mount Moriah to Jerusalem. The Eastern Gate was wide open. Jesus rode through, as people tossed palm branches before Him and shouted "Hosannah! Save us, Lord!"

The day of Zechariah had finally arrived.

During Holy Week, we look toward Resurrection Sunday with the anticipation that our Risen Savior is coming again. This time, He'll be riding on the clouds and He'll gather us, His own people to Himself. 

We've waited two thousand years, but He hasn't returned yet. Some people have given up. 

They think He's not coming, but He is.

When we least expect it, on a day as ordinary as that of His donkey-riding adventure, Jesus will stand up from His seat at the right hand of God, step into the clouds, and head our way.

Our King is coming back and He'll enter Jerusalem through the now-sealed Eastern Gat. It will be a glorious day, so take hope. 

The prophecy will be fulfilled. 

The King will return. 

His people will join Him in the sky. 

Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

"... and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory..." Matthew 24:30 nasb

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