The Humble King

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said, "Tell the people of Israel, 'Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.'"

Matthew 21:5

This familiar story of "Palm Sunday" dramatizes the irony of Jesus' ministry. He was indeed the Messiah, the one who was inaugurating the kingdom of God. He was the royal Son of God, the rightful ruler over God's kingdom. Yet Jesus did not come in glory, but in humility. He did not come as Lord to lord his authority over people, but rather to serve them, even by giving up his life for them.

Thus, even as Jesus entered Jerusalem in apparent triumph, his means of entry conveyed both kingship and humility. He had indeed come to complete his ministry. He had indeed come to advance the kingdom of God. But he had not come to vanquish the Romans and establish a new Jesus kingdom. Rather, he had come to humble himself in the most extreme form, by dying on a Roman cross. In this way, he would open fully the way into God's kingdom.

Only a few paragraphs earlier in Matthew's Gospel we were struck by Jesus' call to servant leadership (20:24-28). His so-called "Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem" puts an exclamation point upon that teaching. Even when we find ourselves in positions of power, even if we might happen to receive glory from people, we are to remain humble in heart. Like Jesus, we are called to serve, to give our lives for others.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever observed anyone who combined glory and humility? How can you feel humble when you're being honored? What helps you to be genuinely humble in your life?

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, what a moment this must have been for you! On the one hand, you were being lauded as the Messiah. Yet, in fulfillment of prophecy, you entered Jerusalem in humility. Of course you knew what none of those praising you understood: namely, that you were about to be not just humble, but humiliated.

How I praise you today for your willingness to travel on the road of humility, to give up the enjoyment of your true glory in order to save us and welcome us into your kingdom. You are the humble king!

Help me, even this day, to be genuinely humble. May I continually remember how much I depend upon you. May I see my gifts as gifts, not as things I have earned. May I offer myself to you as a servant for others, so that you might be glorified through me. Amen.