The Jews in Israel were oppressed by a foreign ruling power. Just imagine if a foreign country took over your government and told you how to live? It doesn’t go over well anywhere. But the Romans infringed upon their life, faith, families, worship, everything. It was a high tension relationship.
The Jews though had in mind that one day their Messiah would come and liberate them. It appears many assumed that the type of liberation the Messiah would bring would be freedom from Roman rule and other foreign powers. With that in mind, they probably had in mind that Messiah would come in great power. Much like a military leader who lead them to triumph over their earthly enemies once and for all.
When Jesus came and began to teach and do mighty miracles, many realized and hoped that he was their awaited Messiah. I’m sure they planned on him coming in victory and power, which is why I’m sure him coming into Jerusalem on a donkey was quite startling. A war horse? Yes. Soldiers? Yes. But a donkey and 12 disciples who did not exactly inspire hope?
Coming in meekness is often the way of Jesus. Sometimes great power is found through those things that seem “weak.” It is often the way God uses things.
I often ask people how they came to know the Lord. One woman I asked named Kay had been living a wild and licentious life. Although she lived next to her parents, she had virtually no relationship with her father and only a fair relationship with her mother. She was deep into sin, rebelling against God and detached from family. That is until a murderer came into the picture.
She was at her house one evening alone when a man broke into her house and began attacking her to kill her. There was a load enough scuffle and noise that he estranged older father next door heard. He ran over to her house to find out what was wrong only to see a man trying to kill his daughter. So he grabbed a butter knife and valiantly fought back.
Her father and this murderer who had by the way already killed two others, found themselves wrestling in the bathtub. Her father with a butter knife and the murderer with a knife to kill.
Meanwhile Kay was in the kitchen and while her father and would-be killer were wrestling in the bathtub, the thought came to her. “If my dad loves me enough to attack a killer with a butter knife, then maybe God loves me too. And while the two men were wrestling in the bathtub, Kay was having an a joyful epiphany from God.
Eventually the police came and rescued Kay and her father. The man was put into custody and later was charged with murder of the two others and attempted murder with her. And Kay? Well, she went on to give her life to the Lord and now serves in Christian ministry.
The Lord won the battle that day through the butter knife.
In another real life story there are 40 million babies a year that are murdered in the womb. In 2004 in a time of extended prayer and fasting, the Lord gave a young man a dream of people gathered in DC with their loves covered in tape, with the word “Life” written across it. It became a divine strategy.
Thousands upon thousands began to place the life tape over their mouths, praying outside of the White House and on courthouse steps. Testimony from the abortion supporters stated that it was almost impossible to overcome. They would shout, scream and yell in their protests and the only “protest” back was silence. It’s easier to be in a shouting match where both parties yell than when one group is silent. It undid them.
Change was coming in the form of a different kind of silence.
In Scripture when Jesus was going to go up against a horrific dragon, we would expect him to come equally matched. Like a lion. But instead he comes as a lamb.
Come to a gunfight with a knife and you’re going to get slaughtered.
Send a lamb to fight a dragon and it is going to slaughtered.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Jesus was slaughtered. We will save painting the picture but you can imagine what the cross looked like.
But God got the victory that day. Well…three days later when he rose again.
God’s ways do not always “win” like we think they should. In fact, his ways are almost always opposite of what we think.
Would a lamb beat a dragon?
Would someone who forgives overcome an offense?
Would someone who surrenders most be most victorious?