The King Came Riding on a Donkey ~ Reflections of Easter ~ Palm Sunday
He was used to walking long hours along the hot, dry, dusty roads, but this day he would arrive on the back of a donkey, like royalty. The crowd walked along with him, wanting to celebrate his arrival at the Passover feast in the city.
The skin around his mouth crinkled with joy as he smiled widely. His eyes shone brightly as he surveyed the rejoicing crowd around him as they plodded along toward the city to celebrate Passover in the temple.
Palm leaves were waved around him triumphantly. Palm leaves and cloaks were also laid onto the road for the donkey to slowly ride over, like a red carpet of honour. Hundreds of people crowded around him, laughing, dancing and singing. The crowd grew as they approached the gates of the city, raising more dust which swirled into the air around them.
The sound of the crowd swelled to Shouts of “Hosanna!” And cries of “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” Laughter and joy heralded his entry into the capital.
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!" Psalm 118:26
The donkey signified peace and honour. A ruler wouldn't arrive on foot, but would instead ride on the back of a lowly animal. The palm branches declared victory and triumph. There was an expectant hope for a change of ruling politics and finally an end to slavery at the hands of the Romans. The crowd rejoiced at the arrival of their coming saviour and king.
But did they truly understand how he would save them? He came to seek and save the lost. Even as the crowds rejoiced, he later wept, knowing they would soon betray him, deny him, and call for his crucifixion.
"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it, and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes." Luke 19:41-42
The religious leaders feared an uprising.
The politicians feared unrest.
Only he fully understood the difficult task his father asked of him. Just three years earlier, his cousin John the Baptist had proclaimed him as the fulfilment of prophecy, the sacrificial lamb of God who would not baptize with water but with the Holy Spirit.
“After me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11
He knew the eternal plan of his father and was willing to surrender and obey. Within the week he would be killed, buried, and resurrected. He was the sacrificial lamb, to replace the old testament sacrifices which were temporary. He was eternal. His sacrifice would restore humanity to the creator. Their penalty for sins would be paid.
Everything the people hoped for would be completed. He would bring peace, not politically but spiritually. He would bring victory over death with eternal hope. He would bring salvation, not from their temporal oppressors but from spiritual bondage. Man looks for someone to fight their battles but God had a different plan.
"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,'” John 11:25
As we reflect on the events of Palm Sunday, the week before Good Friday and Easter Sunday, let us remember the sacrifice He made for us. Let's choose to focus on worshipping our Lord, thanking Him for the gift of His sacrifice, celebrating the power of the Resurrection, and the new life found in Him alone.
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15