When a friend and I rode into one of the slums in Nairobi, Kenya, our hearts were deeply humbled by the poverty we witnessed. In that same setting, however, different emotions—like fresh waters—were stirred in us as we witnessed young children running and shouting, “Mchungaji, Mchungaji!” (Swahili for “pastor”). Such was their joy-filled response upon seeing their spiritual leader in the vehicle with us. With these tender shouts, the little ones welcomed the one known for his care and concern for them.
As Jesus arrived in Jerusalem riding on a donkey, joyful children were among those who celebrated Him. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! . . . Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:9, 15). But praises for Jesus were not the only sounds in the air. One can imagine the noisiness of scurrying, money-making merchants who were put to flight by Jesus (vv. 12–13). Furthermore, religious leaders who had witnessed His kindness in action “were indignant” (vv. 14–15). They voiced their displeasure with the children’s praises (v. 16) and thereby exposed the poverty of their own hearts.
We can learn from the faith of children of God of all ages and places who recognize Jesus as the Savior of the world. He’s the One who hears our praises and cries, and He cares for and rescues us when we come to Him with childlike trust.
Jesus, help me to see You for who You are—my Lord and Savior.
In what’s called the triumphal entry, Jesus rides a colt into Jerusalem just prior to the Passover celebration (Matthew 21:5–7; Mark 11:1–7; Luke 19:30–36). This act is in fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9: “Your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” In ancient times, when a king came on a donkey, it signified that he was coming in peace (as opposed to in war). In response, the people celebrated and shouted, “Hosanna” (Matthew 21:9), which means “God delivers.” The delivering King was coming to His people in peace.