When I was still in high school I had an amazing modern history teacher. Good teachers are invaluable, and I attribute my love for history to this teacher. He did have one major flaw though, bad dad jokes.
Unfortunately, the older I get I start to realise how great those dad jokes were! He had one that he would always repeat at this time of year, before Easter. It refers to Palm Sunday that has just passed and the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matt 21; Mar 11; Luke 19).
He would say: ‘What type of Motorcycle did Jesus ride’? He rode into Jerusalem in Triumph!
In case you are not aware a Triumph is a brand of motorcycle – one of my dream machines actually. But behind this dad joke there is a powerful truth. This entry was a triumphant one. Jesus was coming to Jerusalem to bring the ultimate triumph over sin and death.
In Zechariah 9:9 it was foretold that the Messiah, the king to come would ride in to Jerusalem on a donkey in triumph. The prophecy reads:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; TRIUMPHANT and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Jesus was announcing that he was this king, the Messiah. But as is so often the case when reading the bible we read something interesting and then fail to read the next verse and get all of the context. Zechariah 9:9 is about the Messiah riding a donkey into Jerusalem in triumph, but the next verse goes on to say:
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command PEACE to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Peace is the business that Jesus was about here. He rode triumphantly knowing that he would accomplish this peace. A victory was to come that would make that peace possible. This peace is yet to come in all its fullness, but it is available to you and me now by faith.
As we come to this Easter weekend it is right that we should remember that Jesus brings peace unlike any other. This is also a part of what makes Him greater than any other. May we experience His peace this Easter.