(Based on the song "Victor's Crown" by Darlene Zchech)
When Jesus instructed His disciples to untie a donkey for Him to ride, He knew what he was doing. The prophet Zechariah had said that the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on a colt, a sign of peace. The crowd went wild when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem that day. This was the moment they had been waiting for. God’s appointed king had come. But in most of the Gospel accounts, the ‘triumphal entry’ is followed by Jesus driving out exploitative money-changers from the Temple. For all the problems facing the people of God in Jesus’ day, surely the Temple was the least of their concerns. If God’s chosen king were going to begin reforming things, wouldn't He start in a more obvious place—with all the wrong out there?
This is the trouble with welcoming Jesus in as king—He comes to rule, to set things right. And He starts with us. He is the kind of king who makes us confront the evil inside, the wickedness of our own heart. He won’t let us fix our eyes on the problems with the world out there; He wants to start in here. In some way, Jesus on the donkey is like the warriors in the Trojan Horse: welcomed as a symbol of peace, but whose aim is unconditional surrender.
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. As we journey with Jesus to the cross and beyond, we begin not only with praise but with repentance. It is because Jesus wears the “Victor’s Crown,” that “every high thing must come down,” and “every stronghold shall be broken.” We call Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem the “triumphal entry” because we anticipate the victory that Jesus will achieve through His death. While the powers of darkness are an enemy to be overcome on the cross, we are the ones won over by His love, the ones who willingly lay down our lives in surrender.
So begin this week by laying down your life like a palm branch. Let Him rearrange the furniture inside you, the Temple of the Lord. Let Him drive wickedness from your hearts. Let your “hosanna” turn into surrender.