After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.'” Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”.
The triumphal entry into Jerusalem marks Jesus’ public claim to the kingdom of Israel as he fulfills the Old Testament prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” As we witness this scene reenacted in Sunday School lessons and skits year after year, the usual cast of characters and props emerge – the colt, the donkey, the palm branches, and the people shouting their praises. While the chorus of Hosannas is surely an essential aspect of worship, the spreading of cloaks is a component of worship often overlooked.
Speaking or singing our praises is most familiar to us when we think of worship, but the significance of those in Jesus’ presence giving up for a time one of their most valuable possessions is not something we often consider worship. Think of the significance of one’s cloak. As a substantial piece of clothing, it was a costly possession. Most people owned only one. A cloak could keep you warm (comfort), keep the desert dust out of your hair and eyes (safety/protection), and reveal your social status (pride/riches) by the color and quality of cloth. Get the picture?
We all have important “cloaks”. These are very necessary things – our jobs, our family, our house, our car, and loads of other material possessions. What is a “cloak” in your life? Now lay that extra important “piece of your pride and joy” down in the filthy streets of Jerusalem so that a colt can walk across it all in the name of worship. Do you feel like shouting Hosanna? For some reason, this act of worship is more difficult than singing a chorus in church. This is the real deal, where the “rubber meets the road,” literally. What would make us not only be willing to lay down these important things in our lives but worship God for the privilege of doing so? What motivates us to submit and serve and sacrifice for Jesus? We will only “lay down our cloaks” for him as an act of joyful worship when our hearts grasp what he first did for us. Not only did he lay down his cloak for us when he was stripped of his clothing on Good Friday, he laid down his very life—suffering the agony of the cross and the wrath of the Father so that he might be the righteous King bringing salvation to those who believe, just as Zechariah prophesied. During this season of Lent, consider coupling the praise of your lips with the laying down of a “cloak” in worship to the Savior as a response to his great love for you.
Note: Each day’s devotional is written by a different member of the GRC family.