As we have begun to read about passion week, I have been reflecting on a few things that I have never thought much of before. So today, I am sharing with you 3 truths to remember on Palm Sunday.
I began a little reading a little before the typical Palm Sunday story begins, and Jesus instructed 2 of His disciples to go and get an unbroken colt. It was the Parable of the King’s 10 servants. You can find the story in Luke 19:11-27, but I am focusing solely on verses 11-15. Here is the cliff notes version. A man of noble birth went to a far off land to have himself appointed as king, and then he would return home. He gave his servants a portion of money to put to work until his return.
His servants hated him though, and did not want this man to be their king. Regardless, the man was appointed king, and returned home. There is so much more to this parable, but I stopped here.
Because we are about to approach the moment in history where Jesus rides into Jerusalem as the crowd of disciples joyfully began to praise God in loud voices for what they had seen.
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Here is the thing about Jesus being king. Although they were calling him king, He was not appointed king by man. He was like the man of noble birth in the parable, who had gone to a distant land to be appointed king, and then returned home.
Jesus needed to come to earth to be appointed king. But His appointing came from God. His rule would be unending, and wouldn’t be able to be taken away by the hands of man.
Jesus is who He is regardless of who the world wants Him to be.
So the first thing to remember on Palm Sunday is what has come from God, can not be taken away by man.
And so we now come to the story of Palm Sunday.
As I began reading the account of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the colt, I became more reflective on the man who gave the colt to His disciples because the Lord needed it. Jesus instructed 2 disciples to find in the village a colt that had never been ridden.
He further instructs them that if anyone asks why they are untying it to tell them that the Lord needs it. And that is what happened. The owner of the colt, asked the 2 disciples “why are you untying the colt?” They responded as Jesus had instructed, and it seems like the owner didn’t hesitate on giving the the Lord what was needed. His response was an unspoken “yes”.
This made me think, “What does the Lord need that I have?” Am I quick to respond to God’s ask by saying “The Lord needs it.”? Or do I hesitate when He makes the call? Knowing me, I sit in the latter.
But this unnamed man in scripture encourages me. He is a man that I look over most of the time, but his story is essential, and his faith encourages me.
Here is the second truth to remember on Palm Sunday: When we are asked for what God has given to us, may we quickly respond with an unspoken “yes”.
Another truth to remember on Palm Sunday…
So I continued to reflect on the colt, and its owner. I have to confess that I have greatly misunderstood the significance of this in the past.
The purpose of a donkey during Jesus’ time was in fieldwork, as well as trade. It was also traditional for kings and rulers to mount themselves on donkeys (You actually find instances of this sprinkler throughout the Old Testament).
The donkey was a symbol of peace, but is a sharp contrast to a horse. When horses are mentioned in the bible, they are mostly in relation to kings and war. A king rode a horse when he was going to meet an enemy. But donkeys were not used during times of war. A king who rode on a donkey was common during a transfer of rulership.
So here we have Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt that had never been ridden before.
As He rode through the crowds, the people were saying “Hosanna”. An expression of having the highest praise for Him, and also translated in Hebrew as “Save now.” They cried out to Him for rescue, as they believed He would be the one who would rescue them. And Jesus was sending an unspoken message. He was the king they had been waiting for, and His nature was of peace.
He was showing humility and not intimidation, but He would be met with resistance, and pride. There was a great misunderstanding on what Jesus came to do. Jesus wasn’t coming to conquer, or to overthrow a government that rested on His shoulders. He was coming to show that His way was different. It was the way of peace.
And there is significance to Him coming in peacefully, because He wasn’t entering a peaceful situation.
The Pharisee’s wanted Him to rebuke His followers, the temple had become “a den of robbers”, and chief priests, teachers, and leaders were trying to kill Him.
This is the place that Jesus peacefully entered on Palm Sunday.
And the first thing that Jesus does after telling the Pharisees that even if He rebuked His followers, that the rocks would cry out in worship, was weep over the city. And He wept over the city because they did not know the peace that He came to bring.
No, Jesus wasn’t coming to conquer the things of this world. But there was something that Jesus would conquer. But it wasn’t what the people expected. He wasn’t coming to conquer an empire, He was coming to conquer death. And not just His own death. But the death sentence we had because of our sin. This wouldn’t be done by showing His great power. This would be done by showing His great love. This is the love that Paul describes as incorruptible, at the end of Ephesians, and the love that saved us, and goes before us.
So the last truth to remember on Palm Sunday, is that Jesus may not be what we expect Him to be, but He is everything we need and more. He is the One who comes in peace, but is powerful enough to conquer death and the grave.
This is our King.