This is the week. About 2000 years ago Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Multitudes of people ushered him into the city with shouts of praise and adoration.
Why? Because Jesus was the Messiah. He was the answer to their prayers. He was the fulfillment of their scriptures. He was the king who would not only crush Rome – he would establish a worldwide kingdom that was rooted in peace.
Peace. They thought the peace of Jesus would be like the Pax-Romana or the “Peace of Rome” that was established through violent punishment on anyone not bowing to Rome. But, they were wrong.
The kingdom of Jesus is upside down. The victors – die. The greatest – wash feet. The wealthiest – have nothing. The response to hate – is mercy. Her enemies – receive gifts of prayer. Instead of defensive walls and gates to keep people out – the invitation is extended to invite people in. And the peace in this kingdom is enforced – through love.
But, the Jews were expecting someone different. They were expecting a military hero – a warrior – a conquering king. A ruler who would dominate through force and repay the vengeance that God said belonged to Him!
But, the kingdom of Jesus – the kingdom of God – the kingdom of Heaven – isn’t like that. They thought the exiles would return to the borders of the walled city of Jerusalem. Instead, the city of Jerusalem (the bride of the king) has extended the borders of Jerusalem all over the world. They thought the king would free their political prisoners … but he freed us from sin. They thought the king would bring the scattered nation back to Israel … but he brought them back from them grips of Satan. They thought they would be rewarded for their hardships by living a life of luxury … but in the kingdom of Jesus … we are expected to live lives of service, sacrifice, and denial … and our reward comes after we die.
Are you a part of the kingdom? I hope so.
“Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt. I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem. I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with blood, I will free your prisoners from death in a waterless dungeon. Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.” Zechariah 9:9-12