Coffee and a Donkey
Have you ever been in a Starbucks on a busy Friday morning? People are everywhere. If you sent in a mobile order, it is likely you, too, are standing in line waiting. If you just ordered at the register, you are definitely waiting. The baristas are running around like crazy, some talking into their microphone, blenders are making Frappuccino's coffee is being ground, orders are being called. Some people are full of joy after just hearing their name called and picking up their hot, steaming cup and others are angry while still waiting and not understanding what could be taking so long. If you are a coffee lover like I am, you have felt all the emotions and the sheer joy when you finally have the much awaited drink.
Now, I want you to picture yourself on Palm Sunday. This is the beginning of passion week. This is the beginning of Jesus and his trip to the cross. This is the beginning of Jesus' grace to a hurting world. Just like those standing around waiting for coffee, the people in Jerusalem were standing around waiting for the proclaimed King of the Jews to show himself and fulfill the prophecy told in Zechariah 9:9 which says, “Look, your King is coming to you; he is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey”
The story of Jesus’ ascent into Jerusalem is told in all 4 gospels. It was so important that all 4 men wrote about it in detail.. This was Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem and his journey toward the cross. His journey to the place where His grace is given to us. The place where he shed his blood for our sins and our salvation.
As He approaches Jerusalem, he is leading the way up a hill into the city. He entered as a King would enter, ahead of the people. His disciples followed as did other pilgrims who were headed for Passover and who were curious as to what he might do. The crowd inside was out of control, shouting, running, similar to the sounds in our Starbucks on a Friday. Some were full of joy, excited to see their Savior, others were angry, these were the Pharisees who did not believe this man could be making the proclamation that He was The King. People waited with feverish expectations that He would announce himself as the Christ and claim His kingdom. He went in first, willing to take the first steps to his death. Willing to finish the work of redemption for which He came to die.
As he entered, he was treated like a king. In John 12:13, it says that He was given royal treatment by people laying palm branches and their cloaks at his feet for him to step on, as they would a king. In just a verse later, John 12:14 They shouted, “Hosana, to the Son of David, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” They rejoiced!! Yet, there were those who jeered. Those who couldn’t believe that a simple man could call himself a Savior and King when he clearly wasn’t in their minds. So much noise! Similar to our Starbucks story.
Through all of this, though, He entered knowing he would be tried and crucified. He entered and welcomed his fate. He even said to the crowd, “ The light will be with you only a little longer. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you.” John 12:35 He entered knowing that the people would accept him now and cry for him to be crucified soon. He did all this knowing that he was there to offer them such a great grace, hoping the people would accept it and turn their ways to him, but knowing they would reject him and crucify him.
If you were to enter Starbucks ready for an amazing coffee and received something much less, you would be outraged. You probably wouldn’t return, But God’s grace is not like that in any way. Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem promised us forgiveness, and everlasting life. It promised us God’s grace at every turn. He would never turn away and not return. He would return each and every time with love and forgiveness.
This week let’s focus on worshiping our Lord, thanking him for the gift of His sacrifice, celebrating the power and grace of his resurrection and our new life in him and this grace he has for us.