The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #2

Thursday, July 25, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

At about age 30, Jesus Christ began His public ministry in Israel (Luke 3:23). Three years later, near His earthly ministry’s conclusion, He rides on a donkey’s foal, a young colt, into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19)—the so-called “Triumphal Entry.” Jerusalem is “the city of the great King” (Matthew 5:35; cf. Psalm 48:2). Thus, Jesus Christ, Israel’s King, is offering Himself to her by coming into her capital city, humbly riding on a donkey, fulfilling Zechariah 9:9.

Interestingly enough, in those Bible days, when a king rode a donkey into a foreign city or country, he was demonstrating an attitude of peace toward that land’s government. He was not interested in war, so he came meek and gently. By riding on the donkey, Jesus Christ is not only fulfilling prophecy, but He is also showing Israel that He desires peace between them: He wants them to turn back to Him by faith (Mark 2:17; Luke 19:9,10; Acts 3:24-26; et cetera)!

Recall when the Samaritans refused to receive Christ as He passed through their city years earlier, Apostles James and John asked Him if He wanted them to command fire to come down from heaven and consume those rebels. Jesus replied, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55,56). Our Lord affirmed that He did not come to destroy sinners in His righteous wrath but rather He has come to save them! Remember, He is “having salvation” (Zechariah 9:9)—Jesus wants to save Israel, not destroy her.

This is why Jesus Christ was so willing to die. He could have fought off the Roman soldiers, but He did not. Rather, from His arrest onward to Mount Calvary’s cross to the grave, He was humble and silent, quiet as a sheep being led away to be slaughtered (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:14). He had to fulfill “the sufferings” of today’s Scripture….

I Know Who You Are

Thursday, January 24, 2013

“Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?” (Matthew 26:67,68 KJV).

Little did these “anonymous” individuals know—one day Jesus Christ would indeed name them….

It is late night, and our Lord has just been arrested. His disciples have abandoned Him. The chief priests and elders have taken Him back to Jerusalem. He is now in the high priest’s palace, surrounded by scores of onlookers. The Apostle Peter even sneaks in to witness the proceedings (verses 56-58).

Israel’s religious leaders are seeking false witnesses, people who will lie about Jesus Christ in order to condemn Him to death. Many false witnesses come, but their inventions are not “convincing” enough—these religious leaders need something more in order to have grounds to execute Christ. Eventually, two false witnesses come, who merely twist Jesus’ earlier statements (verses 59-62). Upon being asked for a response to those accusations, “Jesus held his peace” (verse 63). He remains quiet, fulfilling Isaiah 53:7.

Again, the high priest demands of Jesus: “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63). “Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death” (verses 64-66). They proceed to spit on Christ’s face, and punch Him, and strike Him with their palms (today’s Scripture). They mock Him (probably blindfolded): “Tell us who hit You!”

Interestingly, they were ignorant of who He was, but being the God of heaven, He could have named them all. One day, they will be resurrected. He will call their names in judgment, to rightly condemn them to the lake of fire, just as they had wrongly condemned Him to Calvary.

The Word Was Made Flesh

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:1,14 KJV).

On this Christmas Day, we reflect on the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

The candidate who could solve man’s sin problem had to meet two requirements. He had to be God, and He had to be man—a “God-Man.” It had to be God, because God’s righteousness had to be satisfied, but it also had to be man, for it was man who had sinned. God’s righteousness was offended, since “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV). But, it was also a man who had sinned, “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Consider Philippians 2:5-8: “Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” In short, heaven’s best—Jesus Christ—came to save earth’s worst—us! In summary, Jesus Christ was born to die for us.

Brethren, the salvation that we enjoy today in Christ could not be possible without the shed blood of Christ on Calvary’s cross, and the shed blood of Christ could not be possible without the incarnation of Christ! God is a Spirit (John 4:24), and in order for Him to shed sinless blood, He had to first have blood. Thus, it behooved Jesus Christ to take upon Himself the form of a man. It was at this time of year that God the Son entered the virgin Mary’s womb, possessing a body that was conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Remember, “The Word was made flesh” (today’s Scripture) so we could have an opportunity to be “made the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Merry Christmas!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. It can be read here or watched here.

No Room for the Messiah

Saturday, December 22, 2012

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is a shameful reality—sinful Israel has “no room” for her Messiah.

Every Jew knew the Messianic promise of Isaiah 7:14: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Each Jew had heard its parallel verse: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). They knew Micah 5:2: “Bethlehem Ephratah… yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

For nearly seven centuries, Jews read the above verses. They knew that God would one day send their Messiah, who would establish His kingdom in the earth. However, when Joseph brought Mary, who was heavy with child, to Bethlehem of Judaea, precious few took notice. Their hearts were so hardened by sin, much of the nation Israel could not care less. Here was a pregnant virgin, living in Bethlehem, within the time frame of the Messiah’s arrival as prophesied by Daniel 9:25, and there was the Messiah’s star of Numbers 24:17 appearing to signify His coming (Matthew 2:2). It was so obvious that Mary’s Baby was Israel’s long-promised Messiah-King! Alas, sinful Israel would not have Him!

How Israel “received” Jesus Christ as a Baby typified what they would do to Him later for the rest of His earthly life. They had no room for Him in the inn, so they invited Him—the Lord of glory—to lie in a lowly trough out of which livestock eat (today’s Scripture)! When He offered Himself to Israel 33 years later, Israel argued, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). God was not surprised, for He had preplanned what He would do at that point….

Tremble, Thou Earth, at Thy Creator’s Presence

Thursday, October 11, 2012

“Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 114:7 KJV).

Psalm 114 provides a glimpse of God’s power over creation.

“When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of water” (Psalm 114).

The above psalm is a brief narrative of God delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage, and her subsequent journey to the Promised Land. Notice at least three instances where the LORD demonstrated His power over creation:

  • Verse 3a: “The sea saw it, and fled” refers to God miraculously parting the Red Sea so Israel could pass on dry ground (Exodus 14:21,22).
  • Verse 3b: “Jordan was driven back” portrays God miraculously damming the Jordan River when Israel’s priests stepped into it, allowing the nation (following the priests) to enter into the Promised Land, due north of the Dead Sea (Joshua 3:7-17).
  • Verse 8: “[God] Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters” recalls God miraculously causing water to gush forth from the rock, quenching Israel’s thirst (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-13). Interestingly, Psalm 114 alone—not Exodus and Numbers—identifies that rock as flint.

As the psalmist inquired, what “ailed” (troubled) the Red Sea, and the Jordan River, to do what they did? It was their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ! They obeyed His commands. The whole earth—especially the “mighty” mountains, hills, rivers, and seas—trembled in reverence of their mighty Creator.

And yet, for us, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). WOW!