Note: Time to celebrate Holy Week. Not that every week isn’t holy, but you know what I mean. I hope these excerpts from my book Easter–Beyond the Bunny help you explore the wonder of the Passion.
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).
Jesus was arriving in Jerusalem for the Passover. This week would be the climax of his ministry, and would represent the very reason he came to live among us. The time had come to declare himself the Messiah. (“Messiah,” by the way, is a Hebrew word that means “anointed one,” or “chosen one.” The same word is translated “Christ” in the Greek.)
So, Jesus did what anyone would do—he sent for a donkey.
This really does make sense. Zechariah had prophesied that the Messiah would arrive as a king, and would come to claim his throne riding on a donkey. By arriving in this manner, Jesus was sending an unmistakable signal to the crowds. Now I know that a donkey is not the manliest of animals…certainly not very king-like. But to the Hebrews, the donkey was significant. A king used a stallion when he rode to war, but a donkey when he came in peace. Thus, Jesus came as the King of Peace, to make peace between man and God.
The crowds loved it. They spread cloaks and leafy branches on the ground for Jesus to ride upon—sort of a red carpet treatment. They cried out “Hosanna!” which means, “Save us,” and, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” They were quoting Psalm 118, essentially acknowledging Jesus as Messiah and pledging themselves to him.
Crowds are so fickle.
As he descended the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem was spread out before him. Jesus wept over the city, knowing that, though they praised him at that moment, they would soon turn on him.
Are we fickle, Beloved? Do we praise him when the crowd is cheering and waving palm branches, but turn away when they scream and reach for the hammer and nails?
Serving this King is a serious business indeed.
Serve faithfully, Beloved.