Welcome the King   Leave a comment

One of my favorite pictures in the Bible is the scene of what is commonly called the “Triumphal Entry.”  This is the time when Jesus enters Jerusalem in what we now refer to as Holy Week, the week leading up to his crucifixion.  

Somewhat of a miracle happens as Jesus secures his ride, but to me, more of a miracle happens when the ride heads to town.  

Let’s face it, most of Jesus’ audience, especially when you pay close attention to Luke’s Gospel, was made up of outcasts.  If Roman oppression wasn’t enough for the people of Israel, they also had to endure religious oppression at the hands of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes.  God’s laws had been added to and twisted and enforced with interesting results that always seemed to benefit the leaders and belittle the followers.

Jesus came and shared the message of an unlimited love offered from God that included things like forgiveness and grace.  The religious leaders of the day would not be happy with this message because it would cost them position and prestige.

So, many of the people eagerly received the message of Christ.  Who wouldn’t? 

If indeed most of these followers were in the lower income bracket – history shows this to be the case – then what they did when Jesus came riding by on a donkey was amazing.  Palm branches are certainly significant and symbolic, but to lay down one’s coat, or cloak, meant more.

To the poor of this time, a cloak was often one of your most prized possessions.  For some, this was their blanket.  To others, it was their table for food.  To others, it was their net in which they caught their alms given to beggars.  For some, all of the above apply.  Your cloak was a source of warmth and protection against the elements. 

There was even a law in this time that protected the poor should they owe someone else that they would have to literally give them the cloak off their backs.  The law was that the creditor would have to give the cloak back to the debtor should there be cold weather or other urgent needs.  It still belonged to the creditor, but the debtor could still receive it back for emergencies.

Can you imagine having so little that your coat is your major “prized” possession?  Can you imagine the lengths you would go to in order to preserve your coat, keep it clean and in magnificent shape so that it would last and last?  Now, what do you think of their cloaks?

Back to the text…

“The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.  They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.  A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David.’  ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’  ‘Hosanna in the highest,'” Matthew 21:6-9, NIV.

For some, they took their most prized possessions and laid them at the feet of a donkey that carried the Messiah.  What a tremendous tribute to the King of kings!  They had no regard that their cloaks would be dirty, possibly even torn by the donkey’s feet.  They didn’t care whether or not the donkey would, well, you know, all over their cloaks.  They simply wanted to show the Lord how very much they loved him and trusted him with the very fibers of their existence.

Jesus is coming!  At Christmas, we celebrate “Advent”, the coming of Christ at his birth.  We also celebrate the coming of Christ at the end time, when time will be no more and every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that He is Lord and eternity will commence full-force.  We celebrate the coming of Christ into our daily lives, the way that he walks with us and talks with us and reassures us that we are indeed his own!

Celebrate!

Then ponder this in your own life….

…am I really willing to lay down my most prized possessions for the one who laid down his life for me? 

 

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