A King on a Donkey

Jerusalem was crowded with the people who would partake of the feast of the Passover. The city bustled with the excitement of gathering together in the Holy City for the most holy of days. The news of the day passed quickly from ear to ear. Those who had arrived from out of town were given the latest news of what had been happening.  The name of Jesus was passed along with stories of healing and teaching. He had made the blind to see. He spoke with the authority of God. He raised a man from the dead.

The curiosity is what drew them to Bethany. The numbers of people hoping to catch a glance of Lazarus, newly raised from the dead, had the authorities concerned. Maybe more than concerned. They were plotting to kill Lazarus. But if the crowds were large for Lazarus, they were out of control once the news circulated that Jesus had arrived. To see Lazarus was one thing, to see Lazarus the raised one, and Jesus, the one who raised him, together, now that was something to see and the people came to be sure they could see it.

The time had come to travel from Bethany to Jerusalem. They would travel by way of the Mount of Olives. Some in the crowd ran ahead sharing the news of Jesus’ arrival.  As they made it to the Mount, Jesus said to two of his companions, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you say this, ‘The Lord has need of it.’”  The men did as they were told and found the donkey just as He said they would.  As commanded, they said to those questioning their taking of the beast, “The Lord has need of it.” They led the animal to Jesus where we mounted to ride into the Holy City.  In the custom of the day, a king mounted on a donkey was the symbol of peace.  As he rode toward Jerusalem the crowd lay their cloaks on the road. Crowds lined the street throwing leafy branches before him. His people declared him King. Their excitement and rejoicing filling the air. Those who did not know who He was, questioned and soon heard the name Jesus.

As he came into the view of the city. He stopped.  He looked down upon the Promised Land. The city where the temple was still standing. And he wept. He wept not for what he knew was going to happen to him, but because the city that was to be the light of the world was blinded by darkness. He wept, just as he did, hearing the news of Lazarus, because He loved. And in His love, He mourned the destruction He knew alone would come.

His weeping did not stop the celebrating of those who were glad for Him to arrive. Their singing and dancing continued,

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

The song of the Psalmist brought to the minds of those who knew the scriptures. This humble King, riding on a donkey of peace was being received by the people in Glory and they were proclaiming him the Savior in the name of the Lord.

Anger seethed in the hearts of the authorities.  The religious elite, offended by this display, called out and said, “Rebuke your followers.” Jesus answered them, “I must tell you, if the people were silenced, the very stones would cry out.”  The city was moved. It shook and trembled. All of nature rejoiced at the coming of the King. The people’s songs of salvation and joy filled the street, as the hearts of those who despised Him grew darker and harder. The week was beginning in triumph and song. In the days of Passover the Perfect Lamb was chosen. There was work to do, yet. And He set himself to the task.


Zechariah 9, Psalm 118, Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12

palm sunday



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