The Humble God

Today, on Palm Sunday, I offer this devotional for your consideration.

In Matthew 21.1-11, we have his account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, five days before He is to be crucified. We celebrate this today – on Palm Sunday, named after the people waving palm branches to hail Christ’s entry into the city which will kill him in five very short days.

But what we have is not a triumphal entry – instead, we have the King of kings arriving on a donkey, 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.

In Matthew’s account, he tones down Zechariah’s quote, removing the triumphal elements, leaving us consider a modest King (vs 4):

Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’

Matthew does this because Jesus is “king”, and yet, at the same time, He is humble and unpretentious. Matthew wants us to focus on this: Christ comes into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Don’t gloss over this. A donkey – the most earthly of the work animals – bears a King as He rides into seat of power – Jerusalem. Jesus is Emmanuel: God-with-us in a truly human way: God on a donkey.

And in this modest entry, we have illustrated for us His deity and his humanity. He is the Crucified Messiah, the Modest King, the Lowly Lord, the Human God. He is fully God, yet does not consider equality with God something to hang onto, so He empties Himself and makes Himself nothing (Philippians 2). No other God does this. No other God comes to man and allows man to kill Him so that He can save them from their sins and have an eternal relationship with them. All other gods are big. They are impressive. They require adulation upon their arrival. But not Jesus. The humble King comes into town in a way that no other King would dare.

God on a donkey.

On this Palm Sunday, reflect on the one who humbled Himself so He could give His live to save you. And consider giving your life to the one who humbled himself so He could give His life to save you.

Bill English

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