As we remember our Lord Jesus Christ in His triumphant ride into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey ... riding into the toughest phase in His ministry, one wonders if we often misunderstand the true meaning of the word triumph. Who is the triumphant Christian?
Triumph is not in having possessions or assets; otherwise it would not have been a borrowed donkey. Triumph is not an aggressive show of strength in visible achievement or it would have been a well decked horse – typically reserved to demonstrate greatness in victory. Triumph is not absence of dread or future challenge for indeed a dreadful period was near – when disciples will abandon Him and all would mock, spit at and deride Him cruelly.
True Triumph is in rest and peace that comes from meekness and lowliness. The King of kings riding on a borrowed ass. The colt that that was tied is now free ... at rest as he came to Jesus. We can come to Him and find rest ... giving up our self efforts, guilt for past sins and trying to please Him with works. But there is the second and more precious rest that comes from seeking and learning of Him. A more valued and treasured rest that comes from taking up His yoke in serving Him, loving Him and obedience to His will and commandments as He rides on our lives. Triumph is the inner peace that cannot be diminished in times of persecution and trials. Triumph is freedom from the judgments of men, an inner stability and peace that is not dependent on whether we are perceived as winners or not. If we are not at rest in poverty we cannot be at rest in riches ... if we are not at rest in rejection, we cannot have that rest in great honour...Triumph is having that rest at the worst of times that is equivalent to what we feel when at our peaks.
The burdened donkey carried Jesus ... Jesus was soon to carry the weight of all human sin, affliction, transgression, sorrow, infirmities ... yet he was set in His obedience to God. Oh what a triumphant entry that warns us not seek triumph in acclaim of men as the Pharisees made final arrangements for His arrest. Triumph is double rest...double peace ...double comfort that comes from salvation by grace ...freely given to all that come and the other rest we find as we take up the yoke of absolute obedience to God irrespective of how it may appear to us and to others.
Indeed we have mistaken our success-crazed mindset and flesh bound achievements for triumphs ... our seeking for gain and recognition has replaced the learning of Him who was described as meek and lowly of heart and so many cannot find the promised rest. We are disappointed to see that rest is never found in the pleasures and gains we thought would satiate our thirsts but only in taking His yoke of selfless service and coming to Him who untied us from the knots of past guilt and shame and freed us from a cycle of fruitless self-efforts to be accepted by Him. True Christian triumph is finding rest for our souls and not having our way or wishes.
Matthew 21  Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
Mark 11 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Isaiah 40 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.
Come to Jesus and find His triumph.