Jesus' Victory Parade

Why Didn’t Jesus Have a Victory Parade?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus never had a victory parade? Think about it. Throughout history, major victories have been celebrated with parades. Virtually every major sports championship is celebrated by a city victory parade.  Local officials estimated that some 800,000 people swarmed the 2.3-mile parade route  to celebrate the Kansas City Royals’ 2015 World Series Championship in grand fashion.

In ancient days, the victories were most often military conquests and the celebrations grand. Conquering kingdoms generally had large, walled cities adorned by elaborate entrances to be used for victory parades. If you consider the story of Daniel, for example, you find that King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and carried its treasures, along with most of the royal family, off to the city of Babylon.

With their holy city destroyed and many of their loved ones dead, Daniel and his friends were marched almost 800 miles under the tormenting jeers of their captors. As they approached Babylon from afar, they would have seen its massive, decorated walls gleaming under the Sun.

Marching along Procession Street, crowds of cheering Babylonians would have celebrated another victory by the hands of their gods (or so they thought). Daniel and company would have then passed through the great Ishtar Gate, which stood almost 50 ft high. It was covered with a shining glaze and ornamented with 575 bulls and dragons made of colored, enameled brick. Beneath the marcher’s feet gleamed large slabs of red and white marble painstakingly prepared for such an event.

In ancient days, this type of scenario was repeated time and time again. Grand cities with grand entrances held grand processions to celebrate grand victories aided by grand gods over defeated foes.

When you consider what Jesus did—conquering all of the powers of hell and death, it was far more significant than any sports or military victory. And yet, Jesus never had a victory parade.

Any filmmaker would have cast an entirely different scene for Jesus rising from the dead.

The ground would have quaked, and the Son of God, risen to His feet, would have pushed away the stone with a primal scream of victory just as rays of brilliant sunlight, emanating from His being, burst forth in blinding fashion. He would have then mounted a white stallion, beckoned His followers to action, and ridden into Jerusalem, bellowing shouts of victory.

That’s what “should” have happened, but Jesus never had a victory parade. At the very least, He might have had some angels with colored wings fly over in victory formation.

Instead, the risen Christ quietly met with His followers over a span of forty days and then silently rose into the heavens with a small handful of faithful disciples looking on.

Why didn’t the conquering Christ have a victory parade? I propose three primary reasons.

  1. Jesus didn’t need human glory for validation.
  1. Although the most important victory ever was won through the resurrection, the battle is not yet finished. A war continues to be fought for individual souls.
  1. God has chosen to advance His kingdom by working through humans. His unexpected plan doesn’t hinge on spiritual superstars but instead involves ordinary people who are empowered by the extraordinary Holy Spirit of grace.

God’s ways are mostly unlike ours.  The real path to glory is one of humble service.

Won’t we all be surprised on that Day when self-enamored champions go virtually unnoticed while humble and devoted servants of God are elevated to rock-star status!

photo credit: Jesolo Air Extreme 2011 via photopin (license)