The prophet Zechariah wrote from Jerusalem around 520 B.C. about the Necessary Divine Intervention for a full restoration of the people of God. This full restoration and redemption would be initiated by the Son of God coming in the flesh to inaugurate His Kingdom. Zechariah would hear from God and write, “Say to the daughter of Zion,’Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'” John Calvin comments, “This would have been a ridiculous display, if it had not been in accordance with the prediction of Zechariah regarding the Coming of the King of Zion.”
In the scene of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, we find that Jesus is in complete control as He perfectly fulfills even the strangest prophecy regarding the coming of the Promised Messiah. Jesus shows his Commitment to Scriptures, as He brought every part of his life under it, always fulfilling and quoting Scripture. The word was at the center of his heart and mission. You can’t say you love Jesus but you don’t read, study or follow the Bible. He completely trusted the Scriptures.
To fulfill this Prophecy, Jesus lays claim to the honors of royalty as Zechariah prophesied that all Hope is built on The Coming of the Redeemer King on a donkey and when He comes, He will bring Joy to your hearts! This is Good News of Great Joy and means that God is reconciled to man through His Mediation. It means you will be delivered from your sin and your trouble. This King is just but comes carrying salvation! He will mediate the very presence of God back to earth. He will be the door to God, the final temple. You now have access to God through the coming of God to Man! And what a magnificent scene it was!
Jesus riding in Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on a borrowed ass is a visually irreconcilable scene where he displays an “admirable conjunctive or diverse excellencies,” a praiseworthy joining of almost paradoxically supreme qualities. This scene encapsulates the picture of His entire ministry. He has walked a long way, but now on the outskirts on Jerusalem, He must RIDE into the city of David. Why? Because this is a show! A solemn performance of the Nature of His Kingdom. Until now, he would not accept the title of King, but now He at length openly declares himself to be a King, even the King of Kings. Only Kings and dignitaries ride into Jerusalem with such pomp and circumstance. This is a Victory Parade culminating with the humiliation and death of the King. Jesus is the Picture of the Ideal King triumphantly riding into Jerusalem with transcendent majesty, but on the back of a borrowed donkey like a poor man or a child reminding us that he takes the path of weakness and service. He embodies otherwise irreconcilable qualities: transcendence & immanence; royalty & modesty; Boldness & Humility; Toughness & Tenderness. He is the Sovereign Creator King who came not to be served but to serve. He sits at the highest place in the heavenly places but the Son of Man has come to lay down his life. He exudes Royal Humility, a supremely confident weakness because He has come to bring peace not war, He has come to save not destroy. During His first advent, the Great King will not ride a war horse but a young donkey, a beast appropriate for a child.
The Middle Ages gave us the image of the Ideal Man exhibited in the Medieval Knight (not that Medieval warfare was ideal or virtuous). The Ideal Knight was a combination of Toughness and Tenderness and the greatest of all of the imaginary knights was found in Sir Thomas Malory‘s 1485 compilation of the legendary tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table called Le Morte d’Arthur. The ideal knight, was a man named, Lancelot and in one scene when he heard himself pronounced the best knight in the world, “he wept as he had been a child that had been beaten”. We are amazed at the sensitive heart of this fierce warrior. Upon his death, Sir Ector said to the dead Lancelot, “Thou were the meekest man that ever ate in hall among ladies; and thou were the sternest knight to thy mortal foe that ever put spear in the rest.” This ideal creates an almost paradoxical image rarely exemplified in any human being. CS Lewis wrote,
“The Knight is a man of blood and iron, a man familiar with the sight of smashed faces and the ragged stumps of lopped off limbs; he is also a demure, almost maiden-like, guest in a hall ,a gentle, modest, unobtrusive man. He is not a compromise or happy mean between ferocity and meekness, he is fierce to the nth and meek to the nth degree.” ~ Present Concerns, “The Necessity of Chivalry” (1st published in Time and Tide, Aug. 1940)
Admittedly, this ideal knight is only found in the stories of men, but its inspiration is found in Jesus Christ. The medieval ideal brought together seemingly irreconcilable qualities of which we see best portrayed in the person of Christ: He is transcendent and immanent; He is royal and modest; He is bold and humble; He is Tough and Tender, each to the nth degree not a balance between each opposite. The image of the ideal Knight came from christ whose power was expressed in weakness, whose triumph was to be dragged away and killed. He showed that it takes courage to serve, it takes power to submit, to be first you must be last, and to be great you must be humble. This is what Jonathan Edwards meant when he wrote that “there is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ.” How does it strike your heart as you find this ideal in your Savior?