Jesus declared that He came so we could experience abundant lives (Jn 10:10b). The simple truth is that in Christ we are truly alive. There is an account recorded in all four gospels that reveals much about this amazing work of Christ. I am speaking of The Triumphal Entry. The Triumphal Entry sets off a week that begins with celebration and ends with Christ sacrificial death on the cross for the sins of the world.
We discover in Matthew’s account of The Triumphal Entry that Jesus entered Jerusalem amidst great fanfare riding on a donkey (Matt 21:1-8). There is great significance in Jesus riding on the donkey. Every person present as Jesus entered into Jerusalem would have understood the significance of how a king entered a city. Kings often entered cities in one of two ways. He would either enter on a warhorse or on a donkey. It might seem strange to think of a king riding a donkey. I would guess most of us, if not all of us, picture a king riding into a city on a white stallion clad in royal attire, but that wasn’t always the case. In biblical times, the way a king entered a city represented the reason (the why and how) he came. If the king came ready for war, he entered on a warhorse. But, if the king came in peace, he entered on a donkey.
Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey was a symbol of peace and one prophesized nearly 500 years earlier by the prophet Zechariah (see: Zech 9:9). Jesus entering into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, was indeed a peaceful entrance. This peace Christ brought is not temporal, earthly peace, but peace between God and humanity. Through Christ coming and death on a cross the chasm between God and humanity, due to sin could be bridged. Once and for all humanity’s sin would be paid for all people. Jesus came to redeem us. He came as the “Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). The Triumphal Entry displays Jesus coming in peace to offer peace.
As if this is not enough there is even more revealed in this account found in the Gospels (see: Matt 21:9-11). Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem occurred during Passover. In Exodus 12 we discover the origin of Passover. After about 400 years of God’s people living in Egypt the last of which was spent as slaves under the harsh regime of the current Pharaoh, God heard the cry of His people and sent Moses to lead them out of bondage. Pharaoh stubbornly refuses to let God’s people go. Even after nine plagues, he refuses to let them go. God has one last plague that will prove to break Pharaoh. Before the last plague, God has some very important details that Israel must do to be protected, which sets this plague apart as very different from the others. God initiates a new beginning for Israel as a nation and instructs them to choose an unblemished one-year-old lamb and bring it into their house for four days, and on the evening of the fourth each family would take their lamb and kill it and wipe the blood on the doorposts of their houses. Those who followed the command would be protected, and the angel of the Lord would “pass over” them and only inflict the last plague on those without blood stained doorpost.
As Jesus entered into Jerusalem, there was another significant event taking place. The priestly shepherds who kept watch over the Passover lambs were leading them into Jerusalem. Think about it, the same day Jesus, who John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29), was entering Jerusalem was the same day the unblemished lambs were brought from the fields of Bethlehem and brought into Jerusalem. Four days later the lambs would be sacrificed, just as Christ would be on the cross.
You see Jesus, is indeed, the once and for all Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus was unblemished just as the Passover lambs, for He was without sin. Jesus’ blood would be poured out on the cross just as the sacrificial lambs’ blood was poured out. Jesus was our substitute and died in our place on the cross as the Passover lambs were a substitute for the people of Israel and died in place of their firstborn. The Triumphal Entry introduces Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”
When Jesus died on the cross, He died on our behalf. He paid the price for our sin and provided a way for us to experience eternal peace, to be redeemed and restored to God. He died that we may be made alive, having abundant life. The Triumphal Entry reveals more than palm branches, a donkey, and an excited crowd. He came in peace and died to bring us salvation and peace so that we can truly be alive, experiencing abundant life.
Only trusting in Christ can save you from the consequences of sin, which is death. Only His sacrifice as the “Lamb of God” can bring you salvation and peace. As we remember that entry of Christ into Jerusalem, those many years ago, I hope we do so with great gratitude for His sacrifice and love for us that allows us to know Him and that we are spurred on to make Him known. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!