Bible Society of South Africa

Jesus – Day 16

Jesus: The Messiah.

Bible text(s)

The Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem

12The next day the large crowd that had come to the Passover Festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Praise God! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the King of Israel!”

14Jesus found a donkey and rode on it, just as the scripture says,

John 12:12-14GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Future King

9Rejoice, rejoice, people of Zion!

Shout for joy, you people of Jerusalem!

Look, your king is coming to you!

He comes triumphant and victorious,

but humble and riding on a donkey —

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zechariah 9:9GNBOpen in Bible reader

24I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. 25Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal.

John 12:24-25GNBOpen in Bible reader

23And he said to them all, “Anyone who wants to come with me must forget self, take up their cross every day, and follow me.

Today we look at Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a colt, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” What a marvellous experience for the disciples to be present as Scripture is fulfilled, even if they only realise it later. Jesus is seen as coming in peace, riding a donkey and not a war-horse, and excitement is high because the news of Him raising Lazarus from the dead has also spread. Can you imagine being part of that vibrant crowd welcoming the King?

Many had heard his teaching and had seen miracles that He had performed; they welcomed the opportunity to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. Messiah, in Hebrew, or Christ in Greek, means the “anointed one” to Jews and Christians, the Saviour who will set a captive people free. The Jews had been waiting for a messiah who would physically deliver their people from the tyranny of the Roman Empire. So there were many there that were not able to understand that Jesus came in peace to do something so much more valuable: to set people free from the bondage of sin and death and to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, which would bring eternal reward.

Many people today make the same mistake: they look past Jesus in his gentleness, as He comes in peace, to an earthly leader to solve their problems and end their woes. They look in diverse places for a messiah to set them free: to a political leader, philosopher, religious leader, human rights activist, musician, philanthropist, banker, psychologist, or teacher, to name a few. But no matter how gifted and appealing any of these inspired people may be, they will never satisfy their needs as there is only one anointed One, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. There is only One who has been prepared to die for unworthy, sinful people.

For Jesus to be glorified He had to die, not be proclaimed an earthly messiah by an unauthorised crowd. As difficult as this may be for us to understand, it was clear to Him and He explained it simply: “… unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24) He had to die before He could be raised to life and accomplish so much more in the power of the Holy Spirit. The same is true for His followers: “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25) Jesus says also in Luke 9:23: “If anyone will come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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