Unlikely King

Read Matthew 20:17-19; 16:21; 17:22

“When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ The crowd answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’” (Matthew 21:10-11)

In 2011 the world’s attention was riveted to the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. The extravagant attire and lavish ceremony transcended our everyday experiences, telling us we were seeing something extraordinary. It was certainly difficult not to hear about it in the news or on social media or in a passing conversation. Certainly, in London it would have been amusing for someone to ask, “What’s going on here? Who are these two people anyway?”

On the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the air was thick with dust kicked up by shuffling feet and shouts of “Hosanna!” Jesus’ reputation had spread like a river flooding its banks, running from the northlands of Galilee toward Jerusalem. Still, some saw this flurry of activity and wondered what was going on. “Who is this guy anyway?” “Is he really a carpenter’s son?” “I’ve heard he’s a wonder-worker from the country but why has he come here?”

The disciples knew Jesus was more than most people understood. In fact, Jesus had told them ahead of time that their visit to Jerusalem was not a holiday and much more than a religious pilgrimage. “We are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death” (Matthew 20:18).  Jesus was up to something more. 

When Jesus began His ministry, expectations were running high for the Messiah’s arrival. People expected the Messiah to be a king like David who would restore the nation to its glory and reestablish them in the sight of everyone as God’s chosen and blessed people. As people eagerly anticipated that Messianic King, we might wonder what they were looking for. They may have thought, “I’m sure we won’t miss him when he comes. We’ll know him when we see him.” But as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, there were a lot of voices and dust, but not much pomp and circumstance. Jesus had come, but even His entry to Jerusalem was turning expectations upside down. He was upending not only what the Messianic King would look like but also what the Messianic King would do.


For reflection:

  • Why do you think Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem might have been surprising to people?
  • How would the disciples have seen Jesus in comparison to the crowds?
  • How might you need to see Jesus afresh this Lent?

by Matt Erickson


Week 1 Family Talk


How do you describe a king?  You might say they wear fancy clothes, a crown, or ride a big, strong horse.  Everyone knows who they are and how powerful they are. Jesus is a king too, but up until this point in scripture, He told people to keep quiet about his power and miracles, so He didn’t look like what we think a king should be.   

Beginning our Lenten journey, I am reminded of the song “The King Is Coming” by Newsboys.  It starts off saying “Make a way for the king, the king is coming.”  We need to ask ourselves, “How are we preparing for King Jesus to come?”   

Jesus had His disciples get a donkey for Him that no one had ever ridden, so He came to town with that new donkey smell!  He was fulfilling a prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9.  Crowds prepared the way by placing coats or branches on the ground and shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”   

It was like a great big parade! If I were to guess, I would say the children had the most fun! Can you imagine running alongside waving a palm branch or just singing songs to him?   

The people welcomed Jesus and showed honor and respect, because they wanted Him to rule over them as their king. They expected an earthly king, not the kind of King that Jesus came to be. He is so much more than that! 

Jesus is the King of everything. He came the first time to die on the Cross, but one day He will return. He will fix everything that is broken in the world and will reign forever!  Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! 

Reflection Questions:

  • Do you have room in your busy life for Jesus?
  • Have you ever waited and waited, praying for God to help you?  


by Laura Brunner

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