From: T.M. Schoewe
There have been many remarkable rides that have momentously affected world history. Had it not been for the famous ride of Paul Revere, or the celebrated horse Alexander rode when he met Darius, or the war steed that Gustavus Adolphus rode, or the black horse General Sheridan rode in the Civil War, much of world history might have been very different. Our country has been spoken of as “America on wheels;” we are not only living in an age of remarkable rides on earth but in the sky as well, and going into space will continue to change our lives as long as the journey continues.
And yet friends, our world, or rather we in it, with all our wonderful progress and remarkable rides (think of all the young people going to school with their own cars), may be going in the wrong direction with our history if we have not found Him Who is the heart of history, or if we have just forgotten about the most remarkable ride in the world, “the King of heaven and earth riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on the colt of an ass.”
Let’s note a couple of observations about this remarkable ride. First, the Christ Who rode that day. And second, the people on that day. On the first note, the Christ that rides on Palm Sunday is called the Son of David. We take it that you should know what that means. That you remember in the early days of this created world it was promised by the Creator that “the seed of a woman” would bruise the head of the serpent Satan used to bring doubt into this world. Eve mistakenly thought her first child was that promised One and so called him Cain, which means “I have it.” That promise was repeated to Abraham and then it was repeated to David and spoken of by Isaiah who said, “A virgin shall bear a son.” And so it came to be that, Virgin Mary, an offspring in David’s line, gave birth in the city of David (Bethlehem) to that son of David; the One Who is riding into Jerusalem on a colt.
Not only is He a man that rides but He is just as surely God. Angels said at His birth “glory to God in the highest” and people sang on Palm Sunday “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest.” This is the Son of God. Observe Him display His omniscience. They have just come from Bethany, and between Bethany and Bethpage is a mountain called olives. On the other side of that hill unseen by the disciples, Jesus envisions a colt and its mother tied by a stall. He tells His disciples just exactly what they will find and what the owner will say and do. If you are looking for the Omniscient God you will find Him in Jesus, who rides on Palm Sunday, on a colt upon which no man ever sat, the most stubborn of animals; Who rides peacefully into Jerusalem on that colt as if it were a broken steed (even that colt seemed to know the Creator). On Palm Sunday none but God could have seen and done what Jesus did that day. And this is the One the prophet Zechariah spoke of as the King Who would come to “tell the daughter of Zion (people of God) behold your King comes to you not as some General on a steed of war but on an animal that has long been a symbol of peace. He comes meek and lowly, on a young colt.”
Now let’s look at the second observation we mentioned earlier, that of the people on Palm Sunday that were there in Jerusalem when this King comes riding in and is received by them. Remarkable things happen; likely it was Peter and John who were told by Jesus to go around the mountain to Bethpage where they were to find an ass and colt, unhook them and bring them back to Him. They might have said “this is a hard thing you want us to do, you want us to look like thieves?” But they went and they did as Jesus told them. It was an example of remarkable obedience. So it is to this day when the King rides into our hearts.
On Palm Sunday there was also a remarkable liberality or hospitality if you will. When His disciples lifted the Savior on the colt, they took off some of their outer garments and laid them under Him for a saddle. Their liberality became contagious. Others ran and plucked off Palm branches and threw them on the way and when they could no longer reach the palm branches they took off their garments and spread them on the way. The Christ that rides into our hearts still produces among His people a liberality; it’s a liberality that says, if necessary we will take the coat off our back to help Christ make His way in this world.
There was also on Palm Sunday a remarkable enthusiasm. It seems strange that the One they tried to throw off a cliff and tried to stone and was abused by the leaders of His day should all of a sudden be received with such enthusiasm! Jesus had just come from Bethany when he called Lazarus from the sepulcher in which he had been dead for four days. This news had spread like fire. People were coming to Jerusalem from all directions to celebrate the Passover, from all over the then known world. Honest people were saying “if He raised Lazarus from the dead He can raise us, and He must be the Son of David, the King of heaven and earth, and if we get to see Him we will worship Him.” All at once they see Him coming around the Mt. of Olives down the road and their enthusiasm breaks out in jubilant songs of Hosanna, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna, God is gracious!
John’s report reveals a remarkable ignorance of Palm Sunday saying that none of the disciples understood what was happening until after Christ’s resurrection and ascension into heaven. And of course there were many who joined the mob created by the religious leaders, who would cry before Pontius Pilate on Good Friday, shouting “Crucify Him!” Remarkable ignorance.
We all may be in on John’s future revelation “I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse and He that sat upon Him was called ‘Faithful and True’ and in righteousness He does both judge and make war and He hath a name written that no man knew but He Himself. His name is called the Word of God and on His thigh is written King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
Not only did He come riding in to Jerusalem then but He still comes and will come again in the end. And Palm Sunday is not some story that cannot be repeated but happens every time we hear the Word of God. He still comes to us. This is the King Who said on leaving us (His going away) “So I am with you always and where 2 or 3 are gathered together in My name there I am in the midst of them.” This is the King Who came to you when you were baptized. And that sacred act you need to renew everyday. It is the same King Who comes when you gather with others to hear His Word and eat and drink in His presence. We need to let this Palm Sunday permeate our daily lives and help us to remember the most remarkable ride in all of history. That ride changed world history for ever and helps keep us riding in the right direction.