The day Jesus gave the people permission to proclaim who He really was, we call Palm Sunday. Throughout His ministry, He often told His followers not to tell anybody who He was. But, on this day, it was time for His Triumphal Entry - time to celebrate in a very public way His true identity - the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior they had been waiting 2000 years for.
He was living among them.
His purpose was to die for them.
For the whole world.
Laying down their cloaks and palm branches, lining the path leading into Jerusalem, His followers praised God and proclaimed...
"Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!"
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a never-before-ridden, full-grown donkey.
Where did this donkey come from?
Jesus told two disciples to go into the village, and there they would find an unattended donkey and a colt tied up. They were to untie them and bring them to Him. If anyone asked what they were doing, He told them to say, "The Lord needs it," and they would be allowed to take them.
(See Matt. 21:1-7)
Why a donkey?
According to the Ancient Middle Eastern world custom, when leaders rode into a city on a horse, it was a declaration of war. When leaders road in on a donkey, peace was being proclaimed.
The King of kings rode into Jerusalem that day declaring He was Prince of Peace. He would bring peace and redemption to all who believed in Him, and when He returns again, He will bring peace and redemption to the world.
No more war.
No more death.
No more sin!
Then it occurred to me, and I find this so interesting.
Jesus' Triumphal Entry wasn't the first time He rode into a town on the back of a donkey.
Safe inside His mother's holy womb, Jesus rode on the back of a donkey into the little town of Bethlehem. He didn't arrive proclaiming war, but proclaiming peace. The Prince of Peace would soon make an appearance in the form of a baby into the world He had created.
And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
Unlike His Triumphal Entry where chaos erupted because of Jesus being on public display, hailed as King, this previous trek on a donkey into the town of Bethlehem was an obscure entrance. The chaos stemmed from people scrounging for places to spend the night and to register for the census. They were completely unaware that Peace had just entered their little town.
Only a few lowly shepherds and some faraway, curious star-gazers would be privy to His arrival that very night.
Holy Week reminds us of the events affirming God's chosen, unblemished, spotless and perfect sacrifice - His Son. Maundy Thursday reminds us of our Shepherd's servant heart. Good Friday reminds us of His sacrificial death and His position of being our High Priest as the veil ripped, opening the entrance into the holy of holies for all who believe.
And Resurrection Sunday reminds us "It is finished!" Christ has won, and we have nothing to fear.
Hosanna and Hallelujah!
Jesus has overcome sin, death, and the grave!