Jesus, the Great sin bearer, arrives in David’s city seated on a load bearing animal. This was no matter of chance or fluke but as was written in Isaiah (50:7), so also the gospel writer states: “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem”(Lk.9:51). Matthew also records, “This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet: ‘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” (Matt.21:4-5; Zech.9:9-10). Here we see absolute intention, here we see clear purpose.
However, let us pause for a moment and consider who it is that approaches Jerusalem in such a humble manner. It is the Eternal One, the Creator of the entire universe, the One about whom the Psalmist asks; “Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” (Psm.113:5-6); the One in whose presence all should tremble (Psm.114:7); the One who is able to deliver (Psm.116:3-7); the One who deserves all the praise and the glory (Psm.115:1). This is non-other than the Lord of Glory.
Yes, the main character in this narrative is the God of the universe come down to mankind, the incarnate Son of God. What a comfort to know that everything is in place that nothing has been simply left to ‘chance’. Everything in this drama is playing out according to God’s perfect timing - every detail is under His Sovereign control. It is not a case of being left to the intentions and devices of the authorities or to be at the mercy of a whimsical mob. As the reader we should not consider all the players and anxiously conclude that ‘anything could happen’. Absolutely not. This was all God’s set purpose.
Luke writes, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). The political authorities, religious leaders and the crowds were all under divine supervision as Scripture was being fulfilled with every advance of the drama developing.
“For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb” (Acts 13:27-29).
John records that even for the disciples they did not comprehend the significance of the events unfolding before them, nor their unwitting participation in them. We read, “At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him” (Jhn.12:16).
As we look back on this significant event, and as we once again journey through the stories we know so well this Easter, let us never fall into the trap of forgetting that this was the climax of God’s work on display. As gloomy as things may seem, and as fickle as man can be, our God is never caught off guard and has orchestrated all things according to his sovereign purpose. The Sovereign Lord, set on the stage of the universe, was working out His definite plan that would bring glory and honour to God and result in His salvation for sin depraved humanity.
Ps. Deon Lombard
Being a servant of Jesus makes it a delight to reflect and write about all that God has revealed about Himself in His Word.