“Blessed is the KING who comes in the name of the LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38, NASB)
At Christmas we focus on Jesus’ birth, and rightly so. Nothing that He did would be possible had He not come to earth and taken on humanity. However, sometimes it is valuable to move outside the time of Jesus’ birth and consider His career. An important event not often discussed at Christmastime is the atriumphal entry of Jesus.
It is atriumphal because when Jesus entered Jerusalem as a humble king on the back of a donkey (Zech. 9:9), the city did not welcome Him as it should. Luke 19:37–38 tells us it was the crowd of disciples who honored Him with cries of “Blessed is the KING who comes in the name of the LORD,” language that points to Psalm 118:26. That Psalm pictures the welcoming of a king to the temple as one who has had the support of God. That is Jesus in His ministry. So some embraced Jesus.
Others did not. As He entered the city, the Pharisees asked Jesus to rebuke His disciples because they called Jesus a king, supported by God. This is what makes the entry atriumphal. The leaders of Jerusalem did not recognize what others saw as so evident. They are not alone. Many today do not appreciate who Jesus is, despite all He did and does. That is why Christmas needs not only celebrants but witnesses, those whose lives testify to who Jesus is.
Our story is not done. Jesus replied to those leaders that if the disciples were silent, the stones would cry out. Here is God’s witness to Jesus. Creation knows who He is. The very fact creation holds together testifies to this one born in Bethlehem who died in Jerusalem, only to have God vindicate Him in resurrection. Just read Colossians 1:15–20 and reflect on the child now grown who entered Jerusalem as blessed in the name of the Lord.