By CRAIG HARRIS
Luke 19: 36 - 44 (NIV): As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace -- but now it is hidden from your eyes ... They will not leave one stone on another because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."
This is Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Everyone expected him to arrive in town as a conquering king. The Messiah was coming to set up his kingdom and rule forever on David's throne. Jesus was coming to Jerusalem for all of these reasons, but it wasn't going to go like the people expected.
Jesus wasn't going to conquer Rome with military power, he was going to conquer death with his own life. Yes, he began his reign on David's throne, but now we know that his is a spiritual kingdom. After all, only a spiritual kingdom can last forever.
And this passage contains a terrible warning for all of us. When Jesus arrived on a donkey's foal, he was entering as a king in times of peace. He was fulfilling prophecy that said so. He didn't enter on a horse as a king would in times of war, but a donkey, meaning he was bringing peace. But because Jerusalem rejected his peace, it would soon receive a sword. Jesus accurately predicted that Jerusalem would be destroyed by a conquering nation. Rome's General Titus fulfilled this prediction about 40 years later when he destroyed Jerusalem and murdered most of its residents.
We must accept Jesus' offer for peace while we have time to do so. When Jesus returns, it will be on a horse and he will bring God's wrath to all who reject him. Jesus gives peace now, but we must accept it. Jesus offers grace, but one day it will be too late.
Year one of Instant Message is now available for Kindle and Kindle apps. Go to www.instantmessagelive.com. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist churches.