“Your king is coming to you. He is gentle and riding on a donkey…” (Matt. 21:5, NCV).
How precious is the way the King of Kings came into Jerusalem to give His life! The people rightly shouted “Hosanna!” to Him as He entered. The Messiah had arrived. The Savior of the world had come into their city.
The way He made His grand entrance to fulfill the most important moment in all of human history – it’s worth looking closely at. He came to His people… gently. Of all the descriptors God could pick for this immeasurably crucial moment, He picked “gentle.” This is such a critical part of His nature, and of His self-disclosure.. of His announcement of His coming. He is gentle and humble in heart. This is how He comes near to each of us individually too. He will come to you, dear one, gently.
How striking also is what happened next in the story: “Jesus went into the Temple and threw out all the people who were buying and selling there. He turned over the tables of those who were exchanging different kinds of money, and he upset the benches of those who were selling doves” (v. 12).
Wait, what? Didn’t He come into the city in a spirit of gentleness? What is this now? How does this passionate purge of the Temple go along with His lowly approach?
Yes, Jesus is fundamentally gentle. He is also fundamentally passionate about setting us free. He rebuked the buyers and sellers and money changers for adulterating the atmosphere of His house. His house was for ONE thing: to be a habitation of prayer. A dwelling place of connection with the Father. A home of intimacy with Him. A house for the intersection of heaven and earth. Anything standing in the way of that purpose must go!
Yes, Jesus is zealous for the purity of His Temple. Which means He is zealous for the purifying of our hearts too. Once we give our lives to Him, we become His temple, His habitation. If anything is standing in the way of our lives being a house of prayer, He is not passive about that. Whatever obstacle to deep intimacy with Him that He encounters in us, He will address relentlessly with His purifying fire. As Romans 11:22 expresses, “Notice how God is both kind and severe” (NLT). He is in earnest about cleansing us until our communion with Him has no hindrances.
Notice this also. Immediately after Jesus cleansed the Temple, His very next act was the following: “The blind and crippled people came to Jesus in the Temple, and he healed them” (v. 14). Whenever we encounter God’s purifying process in our lives, let us remember this. His only heart motivation in refining us is His immeasurable love for us. His goal is to bring us into liberty from all bondage. His mission is to heal us of our blindness and lameness. He burns with jealous longing to have unhindered oneness with us. We must know, deep in our souls… the freedom that His purification brings is truly life. It is life more abundantly!
Our gentle King is coming to us. He loves us fiercely. He will do everything He needs to, to heal us and make us free.
What do you think about the juxtaposition of Jesus’ kindness and severity?