This past weekend we had the blessing of celebrating Palm Sunday. A special day where we recognize Jesus’ last days heading up to His crucifixion and resurrection. It’s referred to as Palm Sunday because of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem; a story that is found in all four of the Gospels. In most bibles, you will find the heading “The Triumphal Entry” introducing each Gospel’s telling of that day’s events.
It’s an interesting heading that needs some explanation. Back in those days the highest honor a Roman General could receive was to be declared “Triumph.” Since it was the highest honor, it was only given to those Generals who were victorious on the battlefield, captured defeated enemies, and who added/extended the territory of the Roman Empire.
It was the grandest of events, where the General would be ridden in a chariot drawn by white stallions, leading a parade that included chained prisoners of war, produce, exotic animals, and other items from the conquered land. The citizens of Rome would line the streets shouting and cheering.
With that in mind, let’s consider Jesus’ “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem.
Before this day, Jesus had been to Jerusalem on many occasions. On those occasions He had worshipped and taught in the temple and also healed many people. Until this day Jesus seemed to try and keep a low profile – often telling those He had healed to keep things quiet.
On this day however, Jesus entered Jerusalem not as a worshipper and certainly not in a quiet manner. This day He came as the rightful and legitimate King of kings.
Yet instead of white stallions, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey – a humble creature of labor, also called a beast of burden. In fact, the prophecy He fulfilled from Zechariah 9, tells us that Jesus came “lowly” and riding on a donkey. “Lowly,” translated from a Greek word that more fully means: a humility that is considerate, unassuming (not showy or arrogant, modest), gentle and mild, meek (power under perfect control).
Considerate. Unassuming. Gentle. Mild. Meek.
These are some of the character traits of the conquering King who ransomed our souls. They may be somewhat hidden in our translations but are there to find. In all that we read of Jesus in the Bible – we find our greatest example for life – the model of what we are to become in becoming more like Him.
Proverbs 29:23 states that “he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” Something for us to considered, but let’s look at 2 Corinthians 2:14:
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.
We can now understand this verse with more understanding. Jesus made a spectacle of the devil once and for all on the cross for us! He is always leading us in triumph! And here’s our part – it’s through us that He spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. How do we most effectively accomplish this?
By representing Him as He represented Himself – by being His considerate, unassuming, gentle, mild and meek ambassadors on earth. What Jesus did was motivated by love for us when we were lost and undeserving. We must relate to the world around us with the same motivation and divine character.
Divine character is another way to say spiritual fruit. As we mature, becoming more like Jesus, displaying more and more of His character – we become more fruitful and more fragrant!
As you remember Christ’s death and resurrection this Sunday in church – make it your prayer to become more fruitful – it’s the best way to show your gratefulness for all Jesus has done for you.