By Melissa McLaughlin

For as long as I can remember, I have loved horses. Horses captivated my mind and heart as a young girl.  The swift, strong gallop. The playful, childlike whinny. The glistening coat and flowing mane. I drew pictures of them, read stories about them and dreamed of myself riding these majestic and marvelous steeds.

Imagine my delight when one year for Christmas, my parents gave me a pony. Not a gallant stallion, but a simple, sturdy Shetland pony.  Though it was small in stature, my heart for the pony was huge! His name was Copper.

I rode Copper through the wooded trails near my home, clopping along in his rhythmic beat, feeling a special peace and connection with God’s creation under me and all around me. He would plod along slowly as we ventured out and then sprint joyfully when we turned back to head for home.

What more magnificent creature to carry our Lord and Savior, than a horse?

And yet, we find that Jesus announced His coming with something less prestigious… a donkey.

Our King is Coming

In Luke chapter 2, we read of Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem to register for the census, fulfilling Biblical prophecies regarding the birthplace of our Savior. Though not actually recorded in scripture, we infer that Mary, then months pregnant with the Christ-child, likely rode a donkey for this long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

In this same chapter, we encounter a heavenly host of angels proclaiming the good news of our Savior’s coming. Interestingly, this divine, history-altering message was shared only with some lowly shepherds keeping watch over their flocks of sheep.

Of all God’s glorious creatures, we picture donkeys and sheep woven into the story of His Advent.

Our King is Coming

It seems fitting that as part of Jesus’ prophetic fulfillment, just prior to His death on the cross, we read in Luke 19:28-40, of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, once again riding a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Remarkably, some 400 years earlier, this very scene had been prophesied, here in Zechariah 9:9:

 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

As Jesus arrived on the donkey, the crowds chanted a prophetic phrase from Psalm 118:25-26Hosanna (meaning “save us”). Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

The King of all Creation, abreast a humble donkey. Rather than the symbol of powerful conqueror on a mighty stallion, Jesus entered as a gentle prince, a Prince of Peace. For kings of that day, who came in peace, rode a donkey.

Even then, some who opposed Jesus were offended that the people shouted His praise and told Jesus to make them stop. But Jesus did not. Jesus accepted the people’s prophetic praise and added that creation itself, the very stones, would cry out if they did not.

A surprising answer from this humble Prince. A foreshadow for those who have ears to hear. For though He is a suffering servant King, yet HE IS KING. Creation recognizes its CREATOR.

The very next part of this story is what stops me in my tracks and makes me wonder about the crowds that day. And the crowds of today.

As Jesus came near the city of Jerusalem and looked upon it…

He wept.

Listen to the words of our weeping Savior in Luke 19:41-44As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Jesus wept. If God’s chosen people could only see what brings real peace, soul peace, peace with God through a right relationship found in Christ Jesus. Not military peace. Not economic peace. Peace with God. Saved by grace through faith in Jesus and His finished work on the cross. “Peace on earth for those on whom His favor rests,” as announced by the angels in Luke 2:14.

“Because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Jesus, God in the flesh, God incarnate, has come to His people. Not to conquer enemy nations, but to conquer the enemy of our soul… sin. The Creator, who came to save His creatures, was spurned by the very ones whose existence depended on Him.

Jesus paid an immeasurable price, the cost of His own holy, pure, perfect blood to purchase us for heaven.

And here He stands, weeping “Because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Following this scene, we are given a short account of Jesus cleansing the Temple in Luke 19:45-46. Many were using the sale of Temple sacrifices to extort money from the poor, instead of consecrating this sacred place for people to draw near God in prayer.

“Because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Our King is Coming

Likewise, we know that one day soon, Jesus will come and cleanse this world of every person, demon, devil and evil that opposes His righteousness and holiness. For God is holy and no sin can be allowed in His perfect presence or His goodness ceases to be good.

The Holy God and Lord of Creation is coming to make His dwelling place among mankind. Forever.

When Jesus returns at His second coming, Biblical prophecy declares this time, our Messiah will ride a horse. And this powerful, fearful, future scene can take your breath away. Imagine this…

Revelation 19:11-16Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus’ first coming was as a sacrificial Lamb, to lay down His life for the sins of the world. However, when He returns, it will be as Lion, warring against anything and anyone that sets itself up against God or has not believed in Christ as Messiah and LORD.

Though this sounds terrifying, it is for this reason Jesus died a terrifying death to atone for our sins. He has cleansed our souls and purified us, so that we are fit to abide in the presence of Almighty God.

How could we, sinful and selfish mortals that we are, how could even we tolerate heaven as a place where corruption, evil, abuse, mocking, lying and killing would continue? When Christ returns, He will make all things right and because of our Holy Savior’s blood, we are granted the mercy and grace to dwell with the Holy One in peace for all eternity.

“Because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

As we look around at so many people in our own cities who have turned their backs on Jesus’ sacrifice for them, may we weep as He did, that day He looked out over Jerusalem. For we know, one day soon, we will breathe our last or Jesus will return and the final judgments will be made.

May our prayers echo on and on until that day, that the people of the earth will not miss out on the kingdom of heaven…

“Because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

I can hear the coming of our King on the horizon. Can you? The hoofbeats are already thundering in the distance. The ground is rumbling even now.

May more eyes be opened and hearts believe that Jesus is LORD, while there is still time. Like the pounding, drumming of horses’ hooves as they head toward home, may our prayers for people to believe and follow Christ beat on steady, sure and strong. For behold, our King is coming.

Hebrews 9:27-28 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Psalm 118:19-27a (Excerpts shouted by the crowd at Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem)
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.

23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.

Additional Resources:

6 Simple Things to Know About End Times By Melissa McLaughlin

The Time Between Time: Two Extraordinary Moments in God’s Story By Melissa McLaughlin

Do you ever wonder if the world is coming to an end? By Melissa McLaughlin