The Triumphal Entry of Christ -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 124:495 (Jul 1967)
Article: The Triumphal Entry of Christ
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.


The Triumphal Entry of Christ

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

It is not without design that the two most significant figures of history appeared in the same generation of the human story. One was homo imperiosus, imperial man, who destroyed Cato’s romantic dream of the old republic and its freedom. Augustus, “The divine Caesar—and the Son of God,” as a later Gallic inscription had it, shattered his foes by force and inaugurated a new era. But, while Augustus brought an armistice to the weary world, he was unable to usher in Saturnia regna, the golden age. “The homo imperiosus,” Stauffer has said, “could bind the dragon; but he could not slay it.”1

The second man—born in the troubled little land of Israel, where even the mighty Caesar was never able to bring complete peace—was homo pacifer, or princeps pacis, as Isaiah foresaw (cf. Isa 9:6). After having overcome the temptation to follow the path of homo imperiosus, He moved firmly and fearlessly to the conflict of the crucifixion. There He would wrest the kingdom from the ancient dragon and make it possible for earth’s golden age, the Messianic rule, to come in power and great glory. This man, the lowly issue of Mary and the Spirit, is in truth “The divine Caesar—and the Son of God.” The path to earth’s glorious day lies hard by the cross—a path constructed by the suffering of the Stranger from the world beyond. Virgil’s prophetic words had been startlingly fulfilled; the turning of the ages had come.

Calvary, then, is the hinge of history. It was there that

the decisive conflict between civitas dei and civitas terrena occurred. It was there that the kingdoms of this world became indeed the kingdoms of our Lord and His Messiah.

We have been following the steps of the Son of David as He made His way toward the throne of unending dominion. The birth, baptism, temptation, and transfiguration are steps along the way. Before the climax of Golgotha, there lie the high points of the triumphal entry and Gethsemane. The former event is the is the subject of this study.

Jesus entered Jerusalem amid the shouts of the multitudes, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt 21:9). Yet few realized the significance of the hour. To most the triumphal entry was not triumphal at all; but nevertheless, it was eventful in the world of the spirit. G. K. Chesterton’s “The Donkey” has forcefully caught somethi...

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