Triumphal entry marks ‘narrow’ victory

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“… but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life …” (Matthew 7:14)

This weekend, most of the Christian world celebrates Palm Sunday, marking the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Thus, in Biblical times, began a week that would see Jesus exalted, suspected, betrayed, arrested, questioned, beaten, denied, humiliated, abandoned, mocked, crucified, dead, entombed and, by the beginning of the next week (Easter), freed from the tomb and eternally victorious over death.

We are the redeemed from death. Jesus is the physical, divine, triumphant Risen Christ; our Lord and Savior.

Each of the Bible’s four Gospels recounts the triumphal entry (Matthew 21:1-17, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-19). In a sense, it’s odd to call the arrival “triumphal” in that Jesus was riding a donkey, a sign of humility, not triumph.News of his recent resurrecting of Lazarus from the dead was on everyone’s lips, including those of several not-so-enthused Pharisees.

And as Jesus approached that small gate at the end of that narrow road to Jerusalem, he knew something nobody else but his father knew: Jesus knew what would happen that week, of the “cup” he could not pass, of another resurrection.

Jesus knew his “triumphal entry” began a march toward a victory in scope and impact unlike any imagined by the mind of man. He knew of the pain and suffering that lay ahead for him, yet he continued on the path for love, God’s glory and our salvation.

“… and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14, continued)

Here, “it” refers to the life one finds in Jesus Christ – servanthood, sacrifice, joy, hope, faith, love, heaven, etc. The entry point to this life is likened to a small gate at the end of a narrow road. That’s not because the gift is small – it is huge – but because of what Jesus already knew, and knows, about the self-focused fallenness of mankind.

The good news is the gate to eternal life exists in the living person of Christ. The bad news is “servanthood and sacrifice,” as Jesus describes life with him in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-6-7), doesn’t sound “triumphant” to egotistical human ears.

Jesus, in obedience and knowing what lay ahead, traveled the narrow road to Jerusalem and courageously entered the small gate to serve others and glorify God.

How many of us are striving for that kind of victory?

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