Matthew 21:5 "Tell 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 donkey."

In the Hymn, "Abide with Me" we sing:

Come not in terror, as the King of kings, But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;

Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea. Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.

In these words we see the triple paradox that confront us today –

  1. ordinary people are not friends with kings, and when the king is King of Kings?
  2. A righteous king would hardly be a friend of sinners
  3. Kings come in power, not in humility.

So the question that confronts us, is just who is it that is coming – and what does it mean that he is riding, not a horse, not a pony – but a donkey? Well, the answer is found in the prophet Zechariah, In those days kings entered in pomp and splendor – either being carried, or on a chariot or on a war horse – when they entered is was an assertion of their power. But Zechariah told the people of the ideal and coming king – one who was secure in his faith, and trusted in God – for it is generally true that people who are strong and secure, do not need to exhibit their strength.

How can a King of kings be a man among the people – after all if we are busy – wouldn’t a king of kings be busier still? He would, if he relied on his own reason or strength – but if he trusts in God, and knows that God will provide – he will have time for other things.

While by definition a righteous king could not be a friend of sinners – especially if they continue in sin – a merciful king could be a friend of sinners – and as a friend lead them out of sin and aid them in overcoming temptation. In exhibiting mercy, compassion and love – we see that the promised king, would be less like other men, and more like God.

And this is indeed what we have in Christ, God made flesh, revealing to us God’s love, mercy, compassion and grace. So, The King has come.

It is ironic, that the cry of the people – Hosanna! – at once recognizes that this is the Christ, the Messiah, the savior of the word – for the very cry – Hosanna! – means, Save us now! Its not that the people don’t need saving – we all need a savior – rather it is how things change as the salvation is accomplished when this heralded savior is handed over to die, by the same people who welcomed him shortly before. But it is the gospel, and good news to our ears, for we meet the one who we have waited for, in whom we have placed our hope.