Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 123 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Matthew 21 today and our focus is on the gentleness and the fierceness of Jesus. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Kampala, Uganda, North-west Cameroon, Madhya, Pradesh, India, Monterey, California, Fairbanks, Alaska and Sioux City, Idaho. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
How would you describe Jesus? What would be the first one word description that comes to mind? The trouble with such an exercise is that it fails completely to capture the majesty and complexity of Jesus, God incarnate, because one word is too simple to even begin to describe Jesus. If we did engage in an attempt to describe Jesus with just one word, I suppose we would get lots of words like: kind, loving, meek, gentle, wise, etc. And that would be true and accurate – multitudes of Scripture show us that Jesus is gentle, kind and meek. He came as a servant, and walked in great humility. In our passage today, we will see Jesus riding into Jerusalem to be crucified on a DONKEY. What an unregal mount – the very opposite of what you would expect a King to ride on. As Matthew tells us:
4 This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
5 Tell Daughter Zion,
“See, your King is coming to you,
gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt,
the foal of a donkey.”
This demonstrates what kind of king Jesus is. He is not flashy, nor does He show off His power. And you know what? Most people stop there in their view of Jesus. They see Him as a lamb – the lamb who was killed for the sins of humanity. Overflowing with kindness and love, welcoming to children, forgiving of prostitutes, and friend of sinners. Again – all of this is truth, but it is not the WHOLE truth. Because Jesus is not merely meek, kind and gentle. He is also a Lion, as today’s passage shows us:
12 Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!”
This must have been shocking for the disciples and authorities and people to see. Gentle Jesus overturning tables, and lashing out with a whip, but here is the thing. Jesus isn’t bipolar, or anything like that. When He is welcoming the children with gentleness, He is being Himself 100%. When He is riding on a donkey, He is being Himself 100%. When He is turning over the tables, He is being Himself 100%, and when He returns riding on a war horse, and strikes down His enemies with His sword, He is being Himself 100%. Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, is also fully Lion and fully Lamb. Gentle and fierce. Humble and Lofty. If we would really know Jesus, we need to see Him in His wholeness. Let’s read our passage and consider the character of Jesus.
Here is Spurgeon marveling at the gentle king Jesus, riding on a donkey:
Matthew is always reminding us of the Old Testament; as well, indeed, he may, for our Lord is always fulfilling it. Every point of detail is according to the prophetic model: All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. The Old and New Testaments dovetail into each other. The passage referred to is in Zechariah 9:9. It represents Zion’s King as meek and lowly even in the hour of his triumphant entrance to his metropolis, riding, not upon a war-horse, but upon a young ass, whereon no man had sat. He had before said of himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart,” and now he gives one more proof of the truth of his own words; and, at the same time, of the fulfilment of prophecy: “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek and sitting upon an ass.” He did not, like Solomon, fetch horses out of Egypt to minister to his pride; but he who was greater than Solomon was content with a colt the foal of an ass, and even that humble creature was borrowed, for he had none of his own. The tenderness of Jesus comes out in the fact of his having the ass brought with her foal that they might not be parted. He was, as a King, all gentleness and mercy: his grandeur involved no pain, even for the meanest living thing. How blessed is it for us to be ruled by such a King!
C. H. Spurgeon, “A Stir, and What Came of It,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 51 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1905), 288.
By the way, did you notice it was a donkey that was being ridden for the first time? It can take up to a year to render such a donkey ridable, but Jesus was so gentle and so authoritative, that He was able to ride this donkey with no problems whatsoever through a loud crowd throwing palm branches down. This is a miracle of Jesus barely talked about.
See your king, gentle and riding a donkey! But, don’t stop there: See Him also overturning tables. Here is Tim Keller on that aspect of Jesus:
Here we have Jesus Christ, who said, “I am gentle, meek, and lowly,” Jesus Christ, who was as a lamb before the shearers. He was quiet and meekly took his death, his accusation, and his trial. Here is the Jesus Christ who says, “Turn the other cheek.” Here we see him terrible in his wrath, literally cracking the whip over people, maybe on people. The thunder in his voice and the lightning in his eyes must have been terrible, and he drove everyone from the temple. This gentle, meek, lowly, turn-the-other-cheek Lamb of God is driving everybody out from the temple with anger and fury. We have to ask ourselves … What? Is Jesus schizophrenic? The answer is no; he is perfect.
Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).
He is not only perfect, as Keller says, but He also has ALL authority on Heaven and Earth – He is Gentle and Fierce, Lion and Lamb. King of Kings and the One Who Gave His Life For us.
Bible Memory verses for the month of May: Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
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