“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:37-38 NKJV
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:37-38 NKJV
"Praise God," and various amens are heard around every Bible believing fellowship when someone proclaims a miracle has occurred, which is exactly what was happening as Jesus entered Jerusalem that fateful day. He had just fed thousands with a single serving of food, healed lame, blind, and leprous people and delivered many from demonic oppression and possession, even raised some from the dead, so yeah, His followers were REALLY excited. They declared Him King and Messiah all in one breath!! They were shouting for all of their known world to hear. They were bold and raucous, fearless even in the face of their oppressors of Rome. Why now, when the vast majority of them had lived in fear of their and their families lives for many, many years under Roman authority? Why? Because they just knew that their interpretation and the things they had been taught throughout the years about the Messiah HAD to be correct. To them it only made sense that the Messiah would come in, be declared King and begin to beat the Romans into submission. After all, that is what God had always done in the past, wasn't it?
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Judges 6:12 NIV
When God delivered them from the oppression of the Midian through Gideon, He slaughtered the Midianites while Gideon and his men blew trumpets and broke jars.
And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley[a] and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron. I Samuel 17:51b-52 NKJV
When God delivered them from the oppression of the Philistines He had David use a slingshot to knock over the giant Goliath and then behead that giant with his (Goliath's) own sword!! They were then able to easily defeat the Philistines and at least temporarily end their oppression over them.
Each time shouts of victory and praise were lifted high to heaven proclaiming God's goodness and deliverance, exactly the way Jesus was proclaimed as He entered Jerusalem on the back of a never-before-ridden donkey. The donkey should have bucked and brayed, but even he knew this was useless as Jesus, his Creator, was on his back. The donkey probably was amazed that he had been chosen, or perhaps knew that the very reason for his birth was occurring at that moment in history.
Unfortunately, the very thing that happened after all the praise and shouts of victory in Old Testament times was about to happen again. Just as the Israelites were thrilled with God's deliverance from oppression, but would once again turn their backs on Him in idol worship as soon as the thrill wore off, so too Jesus' followers turned their backs on Him when the thrill of miracles was depleted. Not only did He not wipe out the Romans on the Israelites behalf, He refused to even defend Himself against the false accusations made about Him!! Even His faithful followers ran away, I imagine thinking that as the Son of God He would be able to take care of Himself, well, IF they were correct anyway. If not, better Him than them.
As a child I would inwardly fret over whether I would have run away or not. The funny thing was, I KNEW I was a coward. I was afraid to fall asleep, afraid to walk out tiny neighborhood, afraid to learn to ride a bike, afraid to learn to swim....but the truly funny part was, all those things actually ended up making my little world a safer place. When I learned to ride a bike it made me more alert to traffic. Learning to swim made it less likely I would drown. Walking my neighborhood made me physically stronger and therefore more able to resist any attempts made against me - I at the very least had more stamina to run away!!
Now as I read about Jesus' triumphal entry, I wonder instead if I would have been angry that He didn't do things the way I had always dreamed He would? Would I want to shout at Him that He was supposed to overthrow the Romans and set us free? Isn't that what the Scriptures proclaimed - freedom from oppression forever? Would I be so blind as to not see that what He was about to do was greater than anything I had ever imagined and would set me free from myself? Yes, I think I would....be that blind that is. I hate to think it. I WANT to be able to say I would know, but how could I have? Just as they had always been taught the Messiah would also be Avenger against Rome (or whomever their oppressors might be) I would have been taught the same and would be looking for it.
Even today I tend, as do we all, to look for God to do things MY way. In our minds we think we understand the Scriptures perfectly, and so we just KNOW God will do things the way we desire, then when He doesn't, we do one of mainly two things - get angry or despair. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? That is because it is exactly what Jesus' followers did. They yelled His praises and kingship, then when He refused to do physical battle, some betrayed Him and demanded His execution, while others ran away in defeat.
As I write this, my only physical brother is lying in the hospital waiting for 1/3 of his foot to be removed. He is five years younger than I, so I have always been a bit protective of him, even though he is much bigger than I, so it is difficult for me to even think about. However, he has been playing Russian Roulette more or less for several years now. When told he was diabetic, he scoffed. Before anyone becomes judgmental, he was only playing the "if I ignore it, maybe it will go away" game that we all play now and then. Unfortunately, it backfired and now he is in this position. I am (this time) not angry with God for not doing things my way. As a parent and grandparent, I realize children sometimes need a wake up call to get them up and moving. I pray that this event wakes my brother up to the need to take care of the body God has given him to use in His service and then that he never has to go through such an ordeal again!! But if he refuses to listen and learn, that is not God's fault, but his own.
Father God, forgive me for demanding my own way so many times in this life. Forgive me for getting angry when You did what was best rather than what I wanted, or for running and hiding when I feared You would not respond my way. Help me to understand what it really means to stand in faith believing and do so with determination. Help me not to waver or be unstable in any way. I know I have a lot of growing to do in this area, but I also know that You are more than capable of helping me do just that. So I ask You to help me and to help all my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus as well.
Thank You Father!!