Sunday, March 24, 2013

Behold, the Lord to Zion Rides

Today is Palm Sunday, the day we remember Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus was the King, but His arrival here was a bit different than other royal processions.

When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold your King is coming to you,
Gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
Matthew 21:1-5

You see, God had been using the prophets to predict everything about Jesus for many many years. It was Zechariah who told God's people that their King would come on a colt - not riding in a royal carriage but on a humble donkey.

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

The disciples obeyed Jesus and put their coats on the colt. The crowds who had gathered did the same, and they also spread tree branches in the road, laying a "red carpet" of sorts.

The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. Matthew 21:6-8

Jesus received a warm welcome, and the praises due to Him, from the crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed.

The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9

But those who did not know about Him wondered about who He was. Even though He was among His own people, they were blind with earthly pride. They couldn't imagine that this was the Christ whom sage and seer from age to age had foretold.

When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:10-11

Jesus came as a King, but not a King to reign by power of earthly might. Indeed, the glory of His royal state was hidden from those who did not know Him.

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. John 1:10-11

Even though this King was the Creator of the World, those in darkness could not see His light.

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:5

This King was coming to Zion to give up His life as a ransom for many. He came into Jerusalem that day knowing that the end was near; that He would obey His Father and fulfill God's plan from the beginning of the ages to go to the cross to pay for the sin of man.

When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. Matthew 26:1-4

Jesus came as a King to reign, not over subjects like earthly kings, but in the hearts of His people. His is a kingdom that knows no bounds, and is made up of the souls of men who have been won over from the thrall of darkness.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. Isaiah 9:2

God was speaking of Jesus through the prophet Isaiah when He told of how Jesus would bring prisoners out of darkness and into His light.

I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison. Isaiah 42:6-7

Because of Jesus' triumphal entry that we remember today, and His blood-bought sacrifice that followed a few days later, we can rise from the power of bondage!

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Thank You, Jesus, for Your loving sacrifice on my behalf. May I tune my heart to You this week as I remember what You have done for me.

Behold, the Lord to Zion Rides
Words by John Brownlie

Behold, the Lord to Zion rides,
And crowds hosannas sing;
They spread their garments in the way,
And hail Him as a king.

O Zion, blind with earthly pride,
Why couldst thou not behold
The Christ of God, whom sage and seer
From age to age foretold?

A king indeed, but not to reign
By power of earthly might;
The glory of whose royal state
Is hid from carnal sight.

Whose subjects are the souls of men
From thrall of darkness won;
Whose kingdom knows no bounds, within
The dawn and setting sun.

Behold thy king to Zion rides
Where He the cross shall bear;
And on that throne with blood bedecked,
His robe of purple wear;

Where slaves to sin His love shall view,
And from their bondage rise
To noble fealty, by the power
Of loving sacrifice.

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