The triumphal entry of Jesus into the ancient city of Jerusalem is perhaps one of the most theologically rich scenes in Scripture. It brings together multiple themes and threads of prior history. The Messiah, kingship, incarnation, Immanuel, covenant, the promise to Abraham, the nation of Israel, the line of David and so on.
In the middle of the dust and dancing is the unlikely character of a little donkey. Jesus has not chosen a regal war-horse for his triumphal ride into the capital, but a young, nondescript donkey who has never been ridden in his life. Of course, there are great theological reasons for the son of David’s choice (see 1 Kings 1:33-35), yet it still comes as a surprise to us. In fact, so much of Jesus’ ministry comes as a surprise. His birth, his teaching, his choice of disciple, his death and resurrection, and even, or especially, his ascension. The Christ’s victory is won through sacrifice. Our Rabbi’s teaching is not according to human wisdom. The King enters the city on a little donkey. And it is all part of the plan.
As we all reflect on our own service to Jesus we do well to remember this way in which Jesus first ushered in his kingdom. The gospel advances not through might and power as the world understands it but through weakness, humility, and love. The gospel is carried to the nations in jars of clay and thorn-pricked flesh, by social outcasts and ordinary fisherman. And even on little donkeys. Why? Because when the messengers of the gospel decrease, the Message of the gospel increases. So as my family and I prepare to serve the Lord cross-culturally in México, we want ourselves, and our ministry, to be shaped by this truth. To serve with humility, in God-defined power, and with steady endurance.