Portraits of Christ from the Gospel of John
Not many people in our world know what it is like to have someone as a king
Many countries, such as ours, have representative governments which “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” (as Thomas Jefferson penned in the Declaration of Independence).
The idea of having a monarch who has absolute power is foreign to us. A quick internet search revealed that there are currently less than a handful of countries ruled by a king. It is true that many nations have kings and queens, but their role has been pretty much been reduced to that of a figurehead.
So what is it like to have a king? There are many examples to which we can turn. The Old Testament record is full of men who have filled that role–from Saul all the way to Zedekiah. These men led the fight against enemies on the battlefield so that their people could be safe and protected.
But if that is indeed what a king does–and here in John 12 Jesus is spoken of as a king–why do we see that “Jesus…found a young donkey [and] sat on it” (v. 14). What kind of king is this who would enter the capital city “sitting on a donkey’s colt”? (v. 15)
Certainly we can understand how such a king would be made a laughingstock! Who would want such a one to be king over them?
Jesus Himself helps us to understand the incongruity. When He was standing before Pontius Pilate and was asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”, Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (Jn. 18:36).
Christ’s battle against sin, death, and the devil culminated in victory on the cross with His words, “It is finished!” His ruling activity now takes place in the hearts of those who are His by faith.
Just the King I Need!
You see, just because Jesus did not ride into Jerusalem with a display of outward might did not make Him less of a king. Just because the enemies He fought were not physically visible did not lessen the battle He fought against them.
Instead, we discover that this Jesus humbly riding on the foal of a donkey is exactly the King that we need!
Think of this. Those very enemies that the Lord Jesus came to defeat—and did so successfully!–were our rulers by nature. Ever since the Fall every human being, including you and I, have been born in the image of our fathers—that is, in sin. Thus we were children of the devil, condemned to spend eternity in hell.
But Jesus has “destroyed the works of the devil!” (1 Jn. 3:8) He “has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us!” (Gal. 3:13)
And now to the end of time we can confess with the Apostle Paul, “The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:18).
Jesus, a humble King on a donkey? Yes! He is my King! He is just the King I need!
Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die.
Bow Thy meek head to mortal pain,
Then take, O Christ, Thy power and reign!” (TLH #162:5)