The Triumphal Entry
Imagine: A Roman Centurion looked toward the long road that winded down from Jericho into Jerusalem. He could not believe his eyes. Without warning or announcement, tens of thousands rushed to line the path to honor a man from Nazareth as he began the descent into Jerusalem.
“Peculiar.” The soldier mused as he moved to investigate. He pushed through the crowds, an unfamiliar task, as he was accustomed to people yielding when he approached.
Today the people were focused on someone else. The soldier edged closer and heard a woman in the crowd say the man’s name. “Jesus.”
As the throng drew closer, the soldier saw Jesus. He was astride a young donkey. He wore no royal clothing, and there was no entourage to indicate his station. The Centurion was unimpressed. “What’s special about this man?”
The soldier’s trained eye scrutinized a group of about a dozen men surrounding Jesus. They looked common. “Fishermen or merchants from Galilee,” he thought. Certainly nothing worthy of a Roman Centurian’s attention, but somehow, this Jesus had electrified the whole assembly, and boisterous gatherings were the business of a Centurian.
The crowd sang, danced, waved palm branches, and threw down their cloaks before Jesus—all striking signs of honor and respect. The soldier watched. This was entertaining, if nothing else.
The Centurion spotted a group of religious leaders in the distance. “They will answer for this!”
He fought his way deeper into the crowd, and when he was twenty paces away, he addressed the Pharisees. Pointing at Jesus, the Centurian shouted, "What is happening here?"
"We do not know,” replied the oldest of the six Pharisees.
They were dressed in fine clothes adorned with chains and pins and jewelry of gold and silver. “Pompous as usual. Like a band of overdressed Gypsies.” The Centurian thought.
"We, like you, have come to investigate. All we know is that the man on the donkey is named Jesus. He is a carpenter from Nazareth—nothing more. We believe that He enticed His followers to stir-up the crowd. We believe He has paid them to shout blessings reserved only for the coming Messiah. Our order did not sanction His teaching.”
A child called out, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" and the crowd echoed the expression.
“Hosanna! Hosanna!” they cheered again.
A curse escaped the chief Pharisee’s lips. “Centurian! You know such phrases announce a King, and this, this Jesus is certainly no king."
“I was not aware disdain and jealousy were rites of your order, Jew.” The Centurian replied. "I will not be caught up in petty squabbles regarding who is and is not sanctioned by your order. I do not want to see this crowd here when I return in one hour."
The burly Roman turned to leave, then stopped and taunted, “Disperse them or my order will.”
As Jesus approached, the band of Pharisees shouted, "Make the crowd disburse. Rebuke Your disciples!"
Jesus replied, "If they remain silent, the very stones will cry out."
The chanting and cheering eventually quieted as Jesus rode on, leaving only a stunned band of Pharisees speechless in the silence.
About 2000 years ago, Jesus entered Jerusalem in what is known as the Triumphal Entry.
At the time, few understood the significance of what was happening. The event fulfilled prophecy and marked Jesus’ last week of earthly ministry, the ministry of the Messiah—which would culminate in His crucifixion and resurrection in only a few days.
His arrival in Jerusalem was no accident. His crucifixion was not the random act of a violent mob, a miscalculation, or an overstep of His authority. Rather, this simple walk through an adoring crowd fulfilled God’s sovereign plan to redeem humanity.
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Below is a live worship-hour recording of a teaching on the Triumphal Entry. God bless you as you strive to live for Him!
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