February 6, 2000
Coming to Jerusalem
Matthew 21:1-13

KEY VERSE: "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" Matthew 21:5

We may learn at least three important lessons as we study the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday.

First, the plans of God are seldom clear to us in the beginning. Obviously Jesus had planned ahead. He had made arrangements for his transportation. However, the two disciples, probably Peter and John, did not understand the Master's entire plan when they were sent to secure the donkey and her colt.

Like those two disciples we must learn to obey the Lord even before we understand clearly his plans for our lives. Obedience in small things is necessary before we can gain a vision of the larger picture.

When I was a student at Auburn University I studied English, journalism, and speech. After college I went to seminary at Emory University's Candler School of Theology. There I felt that I had wasted time at Auburn which could have been better spent studying the Bible at another college.

Years later as God gave me a ministry involving the use of both writing and speaking skills, I began to understand God's larger plan for my life. So I am thankful that by the grace of God I was obedient even when I did not see the big picture.

Second, the way of the Master is the way of humility. Jesus preached it, taught it, and practiced it. He did not ride into Jerusalem on a great white stallion as the military conquerors did. His strength was in His gentleness, His submission to the will of His Father, and His confidence in the power of God to complete the plan begun with His humble birth in Bethlehem.

If we put the kingdom of God first in our lives, we too must represent the Master by lives marked by gentleness, humility, and trust in God. We will learn to love our enemies or the world will not believe what we teach and preach about our Lord. The world demands a Christlike example before it will pay attention to what we say.

Third, we must find ways to offer praise to Jesus in today's world. This may mean that we must endure ridicule from others when we publicly recommend Jesus. We must examine our hearts. Am I willing to be criticized for admitting that I am a follower of the Lamb?

In a society that increasingly demands that Christians remain quiet about Jesus, am I prepared to humbly insist that He is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life"? If He is, and we believe He is, then we must say so, and live like we believe it. The alternative is simply to be "nice" but sterile, disciples who are muffled by the pagan demand for the new religion of pluralism.

Many who praised Jesus during the parade were silent when the going got tough as He made His way to the cross. We dare not make that mistake.