As we read this story we need to get into the mind of someone from the time who had written this. We need to see things with a slight sense of a Fan Theories. Fan theories are all about making sense of a TV show, or a series of books, or something to see a bigger story going on. Everything is connected. When you are looking for connections then it makes it look for meanings in all events.
Fan theories like –
- Titanic – Jack is actually a time traveller sent back to save Rose from killing herself. makes you watch that movie completely differently. Mentions places that dont exist yet to Rose and he has a haircut straight out of 1930 – 18 years after titanic sank.
- Pixar universe – that all the pixar movies take place in the same universe on a singular timeline beginning with Brave and finishing with Monsters INC. Google it – change your life.
- My favourite is that Bananas in pyjamas is secretly played out in a mental institution where each of the characters has a different mental health problem and the main form of currency is crunchy honey cakes also known as the medication they receive. B1 and B2 are not twin brother bananas but one banana with split personality disorder. This makes watching ABC kids in the afternoon and whole different experience.
As we look through this passage we need to be thinking fan theory. What are the little parts in this story that point to other parts of God story so we can see what is being said here.
Lets walk through it and see the fan theory that pops out –
Read v28-36 picking up these points –
- Bethphage and Bethany near the mount of olives – Mount of Olives points both backwards and forward. It looks back to 2 kings when King David (one of God’s kings) walks up the mount of olives to repent of disobeying God and comes down glorifying the Lord and looks forward to the moment when Jesus is arrested about a week from now and is given a crown of thorns as king of the jews.
- Colt – or a foal of a Donkey. As this part of the story happens Zechariah 9.9 – a prophecy of the king pops into our minds.
- 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.
- The Lord needs it – with authority of someone who has power he gets the colt.
- cloaks on the ground and on the colt – reminiscent of 2 King 9.13
- 2 Kings 9:13 (NIV) – 13 They quickly took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!”
- a sign of respect for the king.
- a kingly procession extolling the good works of the king
- misquote psalm 118 but like on purpose. They misquote it to capture something else.
They celebrate with these words from a Psalm. This is of massive importance to them. Right now they are under the rule of the Romans. There is even rumour in some texts that on this day that Jesus is entering on one side of town and on the other side enter Pontius Pilate who represented the Roman Rule.
From one side of town we have a ruler representing one Roman rule and on the other we see Jesus entering representing God’s rule. For the people of the time there is a significant clashing of images going on. Two rulers entering Jerusalem at the same time.
The point being made again and again and again. Rather then a slightly imaginary fan theory this text which in simple terms is describing a man riding into a town on a donkey is actually a statement of the identity of the man. He is the king.
Jesus is the king
Jesus is the king
Jesus is the king
Jesus is the king
As the story continues in v38 the people are also proclaiming
The pharisees who are priests of the jewish temple ask Jesus to rebuke the disciples for what they are saying.
Jesus, as he is prone to do, instead rebukes the Pharisees. He says the stones will cry out which is a quote from another old testament prophet Habbakkuk 2.11. It is him making a reference to the unstoppable nature of God’s mission, that it would be an injustice. Even if the disciples were to stop shouting it wouldnt stop the truth that the king is in town. If I was a disciple though I totally would have asked everyone to stop to see if the stones cried out – Jesus does some legit miracles.
Jesus makes one of the most explicit statements of his nature here. Stating you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you. As in right now – I am God and I am here you guys are in trouble.
A tension is created here in the story. The people had just been proclaiming Jesus as the king who is returning to Jerusalem which was to be the centre of his Kingdom. The centre of God’s kingdom. Yet he says that the city and its people will be destroyed. Jesus is bringing this new kingdom and yet immediately predicting the end of it. In fact his prediction comes true 64 years later when Jerusalem is destroyed by the Romans who kill and force the rebellious Jews to flee.
This tension is picked up even more when a week after Jesus comes into town as a king whom is praised is up on a cross alone being shamed. King fail. Yet that is not the end but the expanding of the kingdom and the disciples perhaps unknowingly proclaim it.
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Rather then being a king of a group of people in the middle east Jesus dies and rises again to achieve much more. He becomes a king not of a kingdom bound by location. But a kingdom bound by what he does on the cross. For the issue was that there was not peace in heaven and through Jesus death and resurrection peace is brought between God and man. The insult of sin is removed and a new kingdom begins. One where the king is eternal, and his kingdom is not bound physically but is found wherever the people of God who are in it are.
We need a king. We need a king that can make Psalm 118 come true. For the disciples who were celebrating Jesus coming to town they were hoping for a king. i take it that they quote the one line from that Psalm to point us to that Psalm to see what the king and his kingdom is like. They are hoping this kingdom becomes real.