June, 1996. We stood on the Mount of Olives overlooking the holy city, Jerusalem on the other side of the Kidron Valley. We saw the gates through which Jesus entered the city, and then the temple, on Palm Sunday when throngs of expectant and jubilant crowds cheered “Hosanna!” with palm branches waving.
Their king had come, riding a donkey’s colt, making his triumphal entry. The fervor was high. They expected their king to take charge and lead the revolt to crush Roman rule.
He knew it. He knew they expected something that was not to be—not yet. They were concerned about their immediate situation and they had a plan. But it wasn’t His—not yet. He didn’t come the first time riding a war horse. He came riding a peace beast—a donkey—a colt. He came for peace that passes understanding. And they didn’t understand.
They wanted freedom all right, but not the freedom Jesus was about to purchase with His blood.
Once they saw their hopes of political freedom unraveling, they turned on the one they could not force to deliver them their way, in their time. So they screamed a new refrain.
“Crucify him! Crucify him!”
He had not served their purposes—their plans—in their way—in their time.
We walked the road Jesus walked on another day that week. This time, He was led by the religious who had already condemned Him to death for His outrageous claim on Palm Sunday that He was, indeed, their long-awaited Messiah. Each step down the Mount, through the Kidron Valley, and up into Jerusalem to Caiaphas’s house—I could hear the ancient shouts echoing in my ears, back and forth . . . .
HOSANNA TO THE SON OF DAVID!
He stayed seated on that colt—that prophetic colt he had borrowed—that symbol of peace. Here was our king, alright, coming on a peace mission beyond what any could fathom. From the beginning, the plan was unfolding. From the beginning of Genesis this Messiah was prophesied. And when He finally arrived—they knew Him not—they wanted Him not.
Many still expect He will come—the One they missed the first time. Jews still await their Messiah. And some still try to block His way.
The Jerusalem wall we looked upon was rebuilt by the Ottomans in 1540. They sealed the gate—the Golden Gate—through which Jesus rode the donkey’s colt—the Ottomans sealed that gate in 1541 to prevent the Messiah’s entrance! And to be certain the coming Messiah would not enter through that prophesied gate, they built a cemetery right in front. Surely, the Messiah would not walk through a cemetery of graves on a colt to enter the city!
To this day, the Golden Gate has remained sealed.
Do we still think we can stop God—or box God?
And yet, we do. God tells us in Isaiah 55:9,
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. And yet, we keep thinking He will work all things out—our way—just like they did on the first Palm Sunday.
Indeed, He has a purpose and a plan for all His creation. Indeed, His ways will prevail and nothing we can seal up—no gate, no heart, no mind—will block His way.
God will have His way. God has HAD His way. God’s way began in the beginning.
He will crush your head and you will strike His heel. Genesis 3:15
Jesus crushed evil on the cross and no strike on His heel will keep Him from completing His holy mission to restore all of creation to its original state where He will rule as the Righteous One over all the nations of this earth. KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16)
Jesus—the Messiah—has already come. He already rode that donkey’s colt straight through the Kidron Valley—straight through the Golden Gate where one door is called “Repentance” and the other is called “Mercy”.
Jesus—the Messiah—has already died and risen from the dead. The Deliverer has already delivered us from sin. The Way, the Truth, and the Life has already paved the road to eternal life for us, and that’s the truth. The Lion of Judah has already roared, breaking what no one else could break—the bondage of death.
He’s coming back as He promised. Next time it will be on a white horse, not a donkey’s colt. The first time He came to serve, to sacrifice. The next time He will come to reign. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11)
God said it. It is written. Anyone who studies Biblical prophecy seriously knows that EVERY prophecy comes true, exactly as stated. There is no guesswork with God.
So when I wonder what God is doing in my day-to-day life when I don’t have a clue? Really, I already know. He’s preparing His bride. (Revelation 21:2)
He already paved the way for my return to Him. He already started His redemptive plan for all creation. He carried us on that donkey’s colt. He carried us to the cross. He carried us out of the tomb.
And He is coming again for us. No sealed gate will stop Him. No closed heart will keep Him away. No blind eyes will miss Him next time. He’s coming back to complete what He began in Genesis. And next time? He will be riding the white horse of the Revelation King, ready to take the throne of His kingdom—right here on Earth!
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come. Revelation 4:8
To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever! Revelation 5:13
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:12-14)
Lord, Be Thou My Vision! Help me hold in my heart what my eyes have yet to see!
Are we ready to leave doubt at the door and enter into His presence with thanksgiving each step of the way this Holy Week?
Photos by Randall Niles, Flickr Creative Commons