The Triumphal Entry - Promised Peace
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
When I was young and my father stormed through the house shouting and swearing, I would tiptoe upstairs to my bedroom and sink to the floor, still and quiet, as far from the commotion as possible. Alone in that space, I longed for peace. One day I opened my Bible to John 16:33, where Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The peace I craved was already mine…in Christ. I boldly underlined the verse in dark blue ink.
In him I had peace.
That’s what the people longed for when Jesus headed toward the city of Jerusalem riding a donkey’s colt: peace. As Jesus worked his way toward the city, the people waved palm branches and threw down their cloaks in celebration, boldly quoting Psalm 118, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” adding, “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38). Jesus would usher in a glorious reign of peace.
Similar words had been proclaimed years earlier to shepherds, when a heavenly host praised God, saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14). At his birth: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men.” Days before his death: “…glory in the highest” and “Peace in heaven.” On earth, as in heaven, Jesus brings peace.
But Jesus knew the cost. Yes, he would usher in deep, true, promised peace. Yes, he would overcome the world, but not the way the palm-waving, cloak-spreading people imagined. Just days later, he would accomplish it all… on the cross. That is how in Christ, we have peace. That is why we can shout—or boldly underline in blue ink—glory in the highest!
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What troubles leave you longing for peace? In what ways have you sought to satisfy that longing? During this season of Lent, how can you embrace and rejoice in the source of true peace—in Christ and his work on the cross?
PRAYER: Lord, thank you for preserving this jubilant Triumphal Entry leading up to the cross and Resurrection. The people celebrated in ignorance, not realizing until later how you were fulfilling the plan of salvation, but we can celebrate, already knowing how it unfolded. In this world we will have trouble, but in you we have peace. Through the cross, you have overcome the world. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you. Amen.