The Triumphal Entry...Again!
  By Dave Butts

    Jesus was very aware of His Father’s timing. Everything He did, every move He made was under the direction of His heavenly Father and according to His schedule. It is because of the Father’s agenda that Jesus scrupulously avoided declaring Himself Messiah in an open way. If He had done so earlier, the Jewish authorities would have tried to kill Him before His task was accomplished.

    However, when it became apparent that the Father’s perfect timing had arrived for Messiah to be revealed, Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem with a determination that would not be denied. The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem was a planned event. The waiting donkey demonstrated the Lord’s planning. He anticipated the crowd’s reaction to His appearance. In a subtle but clear way, Jesus declared His Messiahship.

    The crowds of Jerusalem responded just as He anticipated. They honored Him as Messiah and broke into the long-awaited cry, "Hosanna...Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!" (Matthew 21:9). With palm leaves and branches, cloaks spread in His path, riding on a donkey...the Prince of Peace entered His city.

    When Jesus saw Jerusalem spread out before Him, He began to weep. With His prophetic insight He saw what would happen to Jerusalem in just 40 years…utter destruction…an event of such devastation that it was said that not one stone would remain upon another. It was, however, an event that could have been prevented had the rulers of Jerusalem recognized their King as He rode through their gates.

    Jesus, the Messiah, entered Jerusalem recognized by a few, but rejected by the leaders and most of the people. This should not have happened. The Old Testament prophets had accurately foretold the coming of Messiah in such detail that the Jews should have been at the gates of Jerusalem on that exact day waiting expectantly for His appearance.

    The importance of maintaining traditions as well as the great amount of time between the giving of the prophetic Word and its fulfillment were what kept them from receiving their Messiah. The centuries of waiting had dulled their expectations of God’s Anointed coming among them. Religious traditions became paramount and even God’s actual coming could not move them from peering at the shadow while the reality walked in their midst.

    Israel’s failure to recognize Jesus as her Messiah resulted in the eventual destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersal of the Jewish people among the nations. As the time of the Gentiles has begun to approach its end, the Father has drawn the Jewish people back into the land of their ancestors.

    In these last days, the people of God again await the triumphal entry of Messiah. King Jesus will once again enter Jerusalem. This time He is coming not as the unrecognized Lamb of God, but as the triumphant returning King with the angel armies of God at His back. It will not only be Jerusalem that will behold His coming, but literally the eyes of everyone on planet earth.

    Most of the people living on earth will be taken by surprise at this next triumphal entry, just like those in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. Some, however, were ready and waving palm branches in anticipation of their Messiah’s arrival. So it shall be again. We are called as the Church of Jesus Christ to live in joyful anticipation of His coming.

    There is much unnecessary confusion about the return of Jesus. Many do not even anticipate His return because we will not know the day or the hour (Matthew 25:13). The Bible, however, doesn’t allow us to shrug off His coming as though it is something of which we can know nothing. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and told them that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2). However, just a few verses later he reminded them, "But you brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief" (1 Thessalonians 5:4).

    The clear teaching of Scripture is that those who are asleep…living in the darkness…will be surprised by the Lord’s return. But there is a generation of Christians who will choose to live, not in the darkness but in the day (1 Thessalonians 5:5). The hour or the day will not be revealed to them, but the season of His return will become increasingly apparent.

    These will be the Annas and Simeons of our day. They will seek the face of the Lord and cry out for His coming. Because His Word is precious to them, they will recognize with increased clarity, the signs of His appearing.

    Perhaps most importantly, the generation that is waiting for the Lord’s final triumphant entry, will clothe themselves in holiness and purity as they prepare for the coming of the great Bridegroom. Peter wrote to those who are anticipating Jesus’ Second Coming: "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the Day of God and speed its coming" (2 Peter 3:11-12).

    If our eagerness for the Lord’s return does not result in a radical change in lifestyle, we have somehow drifted from our Biblical moorings. Concern about dates and times becomes meaningless speculation unless accompanied by lives of holiness and godliness. Jesus the Bridegroom is coming back for a Bride who has prepared and clothed herself in spotless garments of white, signifying lives of purity and holiness.

    Are you ready for His return? Will you be among those who have been stirred up by the Spirit and the Word to line the highway with palm branches and cries of praise? Look up, for your redemption draws near, Church of God!

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